A self-starter Agnes Koltay established Koltay Façades, a specialist external building systems firm, in May 2011 after more than a decade spent designing and engineering façade systems. She is a female role model in a discipline, and region, still largely dominated by men.
Describing her field, Koltay says: “Façade engineering is a niche discipline, mostly because there is almost no formal education for it – virtually no textbooks – and it’s complex, so there’s always something new.”
The company’s next project and its first design role in Dubai is for a $10.9m translucent structure, working with UAE-based architect Tarek Qaddumi on the headquarters for Pharmax Pharmaceuticals.
A different project but with a similar twist in Koltay’s previous role heading up Ramboll’s façades division was the Shining Towers in Abu Dhabi – an irregularly shaped tower that required façade engineering to be considered from the very beginning of the design process in 2008 for the structure.
Koltay, needless to say, has an evident passion for her work, a fact now reflected in the innovation of her firm. “You don’t necessarily need a façade engineer for a low-rise building, but for a bigger project the budget may be such that it allows for something more interesting, say the structural use of glass,” she adds, with a twinkle in her eye.