Tamayouz Excellence Award is delighted to announce the shortlist of finalists for the Mohamed Makiya Prize for Architecture 2020, also known as the Middle Eastern Architectural Personality of the Year.
The award is given to individuals and organisations who have promoted, encouraged, campaigned or influenced (directly or indirectly) the advancement of architecture and the built environment in the Middle East between 2017 and 2020. Part of the Tamayouz Excellence Award programme that champions the best of architecture in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond, the annual prize is named after the prolific Iraqi architect Dr Mohamed Saleh Makiya.
The shortlist consists of 12 submissions, representing countries all over the world, including Iraq, Egypt, Syria, the UK, Iran and others. The finalists also range from being individuals to entities and organisations working for the betterment of the built environment.
The shortlist for the Mohamed Makiya Prize for Architecture 2020 (arranged alphabetically):
- Ahmad Sukkar – Syria/USA
- Ali Al-Lawati – Oman/UK
- Arabesque – UAE
- Cairo Heritage School – Egypt
- Film My Design – Egypt
- Hanaa Dahy – Egypt
- IWLab – Syria/UK
- Jalal B. Mejel Algaood – Iraq
- Mazen Alali – Jordan
- Radwa Rostom – Egypt
- Reparametrize Studio – Syria
- ZAV Architects – Iran
Coventry University academic and founding director of Tamayouz Excellence Award, Ahmed Al-Mallak said: “Congratulations to the finalists. It was great to see such individuals and organisations working hard to promote and influence the advancement of architecture and enrich the cultural heritage of the region. The outstanding achievements of hardworking people who strive to tell our side of the story should be celebrated. Although there will be single award, the focus of the process is on creating visibility for individuals, organisations and initiatives, and stimulating debate about the value of these contributions among professionals and decision-makers in urban planning and design.”
Ahmad Sukkar is a British-Syrian architect and academic who currently resides in the US. He is a member of the steering committee for a project led by the AUB’s Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship, as well as a postdoctoral fellow at MIT’s Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture. His recent achievements include winning a Middle East Studies Association’s Global Academy Award and publishing a chapter on the mosque for the Routledge Handbook of Islamic Ritual and Practice. In 2018, he led a comprehensive course on Syria’s reconstruction and development and he was a Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow at the Orient-Institut Beirut. Ahmad has lectured at the architecture department of the University of Cambridge, and has completed doctoral and postdoctoral studies on topics related to architecture and urbanism in the Islamic world, and reconstruction in the Middle East, especially Syria. While his research can be found in peer-review journals, such as the International Journal of Islamic Architecture, he is also currently preparing for several publications including his doctoral thesis into two volumes.
Ali Al-Lawati is an Omani architect and radio show host currently based in the UK. His radio shows, which air on Oman Radio Channel, include the ‘Architecture of Oman’, ‘Religious Architecture of Oman’ (which aired during the month of Ramadan in 2016), ‘Sustainable architecture of Oman’, ‘Islamic Architecture’, ‘Building Stories’, and more. And while his radio shows are predominantly in Arabic, in 2019, he launched an English-language show called ‘Voice of Architecture’. Ali tends to invite architects and other specialists related to the built environment to speak about pressing issues with the hope of spreading awareness to the public and informing his listeners. His radio shows have audiences all over the Middle East, from Oman to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, making it the first regional, Arabic and English-language radio show about architecture. One of his main achievements thus far has been creating a hub for architects to communicate with the public directly, reducing the gap between architects, planners, decision-makers and the general public.
Arabesque is a Dubai-based organisation that combines both practical and academic expressions in the world of architecture, acting as a forum for both ideas and design. Its two principal members are award-winning architects Islam El-Mashtooly and Mouaz Abouzaid, both of whom maintain outside work but use the studio to project innovation that looks outside the mainstream and into new realms of thinking. Arabesque acts as both an educator, holding workshops, giving lectures and staging presentations, as well as an architectural studio. Some of its recent projects and proposals include the Egypt Pavilion for the Venice Biennale 2018, Sheltainer Tiny House Micro House (2018), Shelter on the Edge Density Competition (2017), and more. Three factors combine to underscore the worldview of Arabesque: the urban context; a social approach embracing people, culture, living, work and leisure; and design understood as an action which becomes a means of transformation.
Cairo Heritage School
The Cairo Heritage School (CHS) is a collaborative educational platform dedicated to heritage, urbanism, architecture and the built environment. Established in 2015 by Deena El-Mahdy, Waled Shehata, Ahmed Tobgy and Ahmed Saleh, CHS works to bridge many gaps in the field of cultural heritage management in Egypt, and does so by providing a parallel education platform. Its activities in the last five years include the Adaptive Reuse of Bait el Qadi International Summer School (July-August 2016), and the Urban Design and Adaptive Reuse of Madrasa Al-Salhiya Workshop (June 2019). These summer schools were held in collaboration with governmental entities, educational institutions, fundraising agencies and heritage-expert institutions, and offered educational workshops on architectural conservation and the reuse of significant heritage sites. The workshops also provided an opportunity to negotiate how involved civil society and experts are in management decisions taken by local authorities regarding common heritage.
Film My Design
Film My Design (FMD) is a Cairo-based design-film festival founded by Farah El-Rafei, Israa Mahmoud Ibrahim and Nada Salem. Since 2018, FMD has fostered a community of Egyptian architects, designers, filmmakers, and creatives in general, who connect with one another in order to be inspired by each other’s work and the work of their counterparts across the globe. FMD primarily uses the medium of film and leverages its power as the most universal, enjoyable and relatable way to tell a story. By screening self-produced, as well as other acclaimed design-films from around the world, FMD exemplifies the true power of architecture and design, specifically their promise in imagining and reimagining the future, and in driving innovative and systemic change. Operating with the belief that appreciation for the built environment shouldn’t just be limited to specialists, and that every person should have the language and tools to express what the built environment means to them, FMD has connected mainstream Egyptians with the work of Egyptian architects and designers, allowing audiences to learn from their challenges and triumphs, and to aspire themselves to unlock their own creative potential. FMD also took their screenings beyond Egypt, revealing this work to some of the biggest design capitals of the world, including Milan and Dubai
Egyptian architect Hanaa Dahy is an architect and engineer who has accomplished several international patents in the area of sustainable building materials. Her registered product, Bioflexi, is a sustainable building product suitable for flexible architectural design variations. Made of recycled straw fibers, the material was used by Hanaa herself and a team in Germany, who built three building mockups to illustrate their vision toward a future of sustainable architecture. Hanaa’s work has been internationally recognised and won various prizes include the Materialpreis in 2019, and it was nominated for an Eco-Prize Award as well. In addition to her material innovation, she has been invited to speak at international talks in London, Texas, Paris, Barcelona and elsewhere. Hanaa is a founding member of the Stuttgart Research Center for Architecture, and she established a research department at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Stuttgart, through which she pushes forward an agenda of sustainability.
In 2010, IWLab started as a response to the conditions of architectural practice in Syria. According to the lab, graduated architects are usually transformed into trackers of applications of building permissions, roaming between municipal offices. Architecture as a practice within its socio-economic context was not an option. The founders composed IWLab as a platform for cultural programmes with art and urban and heritage studies to promote a model of architectural practice that proactively negotiates and participates in the city of Damascus. Since its establishment, the lab has had two phases: the first was between 2010 and 2012, when the lab completed two urban installations, two heritage and architecture education programmes for children, and research on Sarouja, a threatened historical area in Damascus. The second phase is marked by the decision to run the lab between two countries, first Syria and Denmark and then Syria and the UK. Since 2012, all of the lab’s projects are coordinated, planned and prepared online. Today, IWLab advocates localised practice instead of thematic practice, and its activities are centred around and inside Damascus, as well as online. Since 2017, the lab has had more than 300 students enrolled in workshops in Syria (documentation, mapping, and modelling), published three books about these workshops, and led construction training programmes in Jordan and Spain.
Jalal B. Mejel Algaood
Jalal B. Mejel Algaood is an Iraqi architect whose project in Iraq, ‘Villa Mesopotamia’, challenges current popular architectural trends and attempts to inspire people. Located on the bank of the Euphrates River 15 kilometres south-east of the city of Hit, the project is an exploration of how to use architecture and context to inspire locals to adopt a more positive engagement with their context. Jalal hopes to show how outdoor-indoor relationships can be exciting, and enhance an end-user’s spatial experience. The villa’s outdoor plaza overlooking the Euphrates is the main attraction of the project, particularly for social activities to which the local community is invited. The plaza offers a public space for workshops, art events, school trips and social gatherings. Villa Mesopotamia emphasises the role architecture can play in bringing people together and empowering communities.
Mazen Alali is an architect, author and multidisciplinary designer based in Amman, Jordan who works to contribute to and document Jordan’s built environment through various projects including the ‘Black Iris Project’, an archiving system that documented 100 projects across Jordan with their plans, sections, elevations and project descriptions; AMMAN architectural map version 2 (the first architectural map was reportedly made in 1982); a 3D model of the city of Amman, covering 100 square kilometres and 40,000 buildings; and, perhaps most importantly, a publication titled ‘Jordan’s Pathfinder’, an architectural encyclopedia of Jordan. In addition to Mazen’s productions, he has also worked as an instructor for the AA Visiting School in Jordan, where he led a research programme focusing on Mars, and as an instructor at Fab Academy, where he led a workshop for design students on the topic of parametric design. While Mazen’s focus is primarily Jordan’s architecture, he also works to shed light on the work of many other architects through events with the Jordanian Engineering Association and his video series and Dewan Podcast.
Radwa Rostom is an Egyptian architect who founded her startup ‘Hand Over’ in 2014. In the nearly five years since, Radwa and her team have worked towards one main goal: finding alternative building solutions that are cost-effective and environmentally friendly, creating a real approach to community development and an alternative for the building sector. In 2016, Hand Over’s pilot project received three fellowships and Radwa herself won an award for Women for Resilient Cities. In 2017, Hand Over was awarded two projects: a community school in the suburbs of Giza, and a community clinic in San Catherine in Sinai. Since 2018, the team executed these projects while developing other projects including a farm house and workshop, a social housing project in Luxor, a healing retreat in Cairo, a community school in Upper Egypt and the Blue Hole project also in Egypt. Across all of the mentioned projects, Hand Over applied the rammed earth technique, while also conducting workshops aimed at educating architects and civil engineering students and young professionals about earth construction techniques. These workshops were held in Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan.
Founded in 2016 by Mohamad Ziwar Al Nouri and Bilal Baghdadi, Reparametrize Studio is a network of architects, researchers, experts and partners based between Damascus, Beirut, China and Vienna who strive of achieve well-articulated and unbiased research that promotes a sustainable post-war smart-city redevelopment plan for Damascus. The studio’s data is collected from and shared among local inhabitants and has led to projects such as ‘Re-Coding Post-War Syria’, a think-tank within the studio that works towards a transparent image of innovating a new methodology to regenerate the post-war smart-city. A research and data platform, Re-Coding Post-War Syria focuses on innovation, collecting comprehensive infrastructural and socioeconomic analytic data, which is used to map the future of Damascus. The aim is to present a solution that does not rely on simply imitating what Damascus was like before the war, nor using the Civil War as grounds to exploit the inhabitants of the city for urban development schemes. Rather, the platform aims to enhance interdisciplinary advanced thinking and research to train the new generation of architects, designers and urbanists involved in the future of Damascus. In addition to its research platform, which has published its data in international magazines and websites, as well as hosted an exhibition, the studio also adopts advanced technologies in its design work, and has designed projects across various sectors including commercial, education, hotel, religious, residential and more.
ZAV Architects is an Iranian architecture firm based in Tehran that seeks to generate socio-economic change. It does this by employing architectural means and capacities to create designs that match the contemporary needs of Iranian people, and architectural forms that adapt to the present-day reality of design and building processes. In seeking its goals, ZAV Architects operates via a three-part work process: it relies on national resources (human, natural, industrial, cultural and scientific); it applies adaptive aesthetics (the studio avoids using a formal approach to projects and copying heritage forms or western architecture, and rather lets the form and aesthetics of a project result organically from the building process); and finally, it informs its work with future-proof scenarios (spatial programmes are defined by present-day and future needs of the end-users). ZAV Architects aims to redefine the function of its practice beyond the predefined limits of its influence; it believes architecture can be evaluated in terms of its capacity for maximising the balanced production and distribution of economic gain for its stakeholders. In the firm’s work, it attempts to postpone architectural presumptions in order to create space for critical re-evaluation of assets, techniques and spatial diagrams.
Tamayouz Excellence Award is sponsored by Coventry University, the Iraqi Business Council in Jordan, Kufa – Makiya Charity, Dewan Architects + Engineers, Ayad Al-Tuhafi Architects, Bonair Ltd, British Airways, Final Fix Interiors, JT+Partners, LWK + PARTNERS, and the United Nations Global Compact – Iraq Network.