CNN  — 

To Dubai-based architect Tarek Qaddumi, creating a new building is like writing a book or a poem: it’s all about taking a person a journey.

“As architects, we try to portray this journey as a theatrical one,” Qaddumi explains. “We use the same tools that theater depends on such as lighting, color, space.”

Since moving back to Dubai from the United States 15 years ago, Qaddumi has championed progressive architecture that prioritizes social issues and elevates public space, as opposed to larger, flashier private projects. Though he’s designed skyscrapers and company headquarters, he’s still proud of one of his smallest projects, Dubai’s flagship Jones the Grocer store, which he says “truly connects with society.”

“Projects that hold no message today are best described as a missed opportunity,” he says.

“In all of our projects, we try to find a way to enhance the experience for the visitors to that particular space. That is what architecture is about: It’s a tool used to enhance society.”

Watch the video above to find out more about his architectural mission.