Dewan’s founder and executive chairman, Mohamed Al Assam
A long-term diamond sponsor of Tamayouz Excellence Award, Dewan Architects + Engineers has been leading the evolution of the Middle East’s booming architectural and engineering design sector for almost three decades. Its founder and executive chairman, Mohamed Al Assam, established the inaugural Dewan office in Abu Dhabi in 1984 and successfully completed Dewan’s first high-rise commercial project, Baniyas Tower, in 1988, which cemented Dewan’s presence as a major player in the regional architectural scene. In 1999, Dewan’s Dubai design studio was launched and it has rapidly become a prominent and integral contributor to the emirate’s iconic skyline.
Al Assam has long supported Tamayouz’s mission not only as a sponsor, but also a judge. And in 2017, Dewan and Tamayouz launched a joint award, titled the Dewan Award for Architecture. The prize is an annual, thematic award that focuses on proposing designs responding to local challenges in Iraq. The Dewan Award for Architecture aims to introduce Iraq and its challenges to the world and invite architects and designers to submit their ideas and establish an uncompromising open source of ideas tackling social issues in Iraq through design and present it to responsible authorities.
For its inaugural cycle in 2017, the Dewan Award for Architecture prompted participants to design a school in the marshlands of Iraq and in its second cycle, the theme was to transform Baghdad’s old governorate building into a design centre. This year, the Dewan Award for Architecture calls for a youth house in Baghdad’s Sadr City.
Here, we speak with Mohamed Al Assam about why he chose to support Tamayouz and what it means for Dewan Architects & Engineers.
Al Assam with the first place winner of Dewan Award for Architecture 2019, Tha’er Qub’a
Why did you choose to support Tamayouz?
Dewan Architects partnered with Tamayouz as a main sponsor shortly after its inception in 2012. We find in Tamayouz an immense professional and social commitment to the empowerment of young generations of architects in Iraq, the Middle East and worldwide. We feel it is also our social, ethical and professional responsibly to support such values.
Why is Tamayouz important to you and your business?
Tamayouz Award and all the activities around it create a global professional network, which contributes to the development of our cities and societies.
Where did the idea of the Dewan Award come from?
Because of the rapid international growth achieved by Tamayouz Award, which started out as an award for Iraqi graduation projects, as well as Dewan Architects’ position as an international Iraqi practice, we wanted to address design challenges in Iraq, and attract global attention and diverse design approaches to current urban and social issues in Iraq.
What do you hope to achieve through your partnership with Tamayouz?
By partnering with Tamayouz and sponsoring its awards, and the introduction of Dewan Award, we aim to serve the architectural community everywhere in the world while giving special attention to the young architects of Iraq. The young architects of Iraq need support the most because of what the country has witnessed for the past few decades, including wars, dictatorships and embargo.