Tamayouz Excellence Award


The Dewan Award for Architecture, held in partnership with Dewan Architects + Engineers, is an annual thematic prize that calls on participants from around the world to respond to Iraq-specific issues.

This year, the award’s theme was the design of a youth house and plaza in Baghdad’s Sadr City, and it sought proposals that were mindful of the existing urban fabric, such as Souq Mredy, as well as the demands of the community and local context.

​The first prize winner for the Dewan Award for Architecture 2020 is Ola Ahmed Maged and Mostafa Hazem from Giza, Egypt. Second prize goes to ONE Creative Environment (Jason Whittall, Dan Martyr and Fatimah Al-Muqdadi) from Worcester, UK and third prize goes to 2218 Architects (Oğuz Bodur, Sara Kerimi, Nilay Altınay and Anıl Aydınoğlu) from İzmir, Turkey. The Dewan Award also recognises six honourable mentions this year.

The winners and honorable mentions were selected by Tamayouz’s jury members, who met remotely in December 2020. The panel members were:

  • Mohamed Al-Assam – UAE: Chairman of Dewan Architects + Engineers.
  • Dr Jala Makhzoumi – Lebanon: Academic at the American University of Beirut and co-founder of Unit44.
  • Dr Wendy Pullan – UK: Professor of architecture and urban studies, and director of the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research, University of Cambridge.
  • Dr Davide Ponzini – Italy: Associate professor of urban planning at Politecnico di Milano and the director of the Tau-lab research group.
  • Dr Hassan Radoine – Morocco: Professor and Director of the School of Architecture, Planning and Design (SAP+D) and Director of Doctoral Center of Science & Technology at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University.
  • Claudia Linders – The Netherlands: Principal architect at Atelier Claudia Linders and Chair Stadscuratorium Amsterdam.
  • Fernando Olba – Spain: architect and the principal of Fernando Olba Arquitectura y Ubanismo, a Valencia-based practice.
  • Kathy Basheva – UK: Director of Basheva Studio in London and RIBA chartered architect.
  • Kerem Cengiz – UAE: Managing director for MENA region at LWK + PARTNERS.
  • Ahmed Al-Azzawi – Iraq: Award winning architect and design director of AA7 Design Workshop.

You can read more about our judges on our jury page.

The winners were selected from a shortlist made by the senior management and design team at Dewan Architects + Engineers. The shortlisted finalists were chosen from a larger pool of 100 submissions representing 36 countries. Selection of the finalists was based on criteria set in the award’s brief, such as responding to the site’s conditions and offering solutions that are mindful of the existing urban fabric, as well as the needs of the local context and youth.

After reviewing the submissions, the jury commented: “The quality of submissions was very high, and we are pleased to see such well-developed architectural solutions that have thoroughly analysed the site. The submissions have presented a healthy diversity in terms of their approaches as well as their interpretations of linking the youth house and plaza to the context, socially and spatially. While this year’s theme was very challenging, we commend the rich and encouraging proposals sent in from participants all over the world.”

To read about the other finalists for the Dewan Award for Architecture, please click here.

The winners and finalists will be celebrated during Tamayouz Excellence Award’s annual ceremony held in 2021.

The Prizes

  • First prize: Six months employment at Dewan Architects + Engineers, renewable for up to one year with 10,000AED salary per month ($2,759), OR $6000 cash prize + Tamayouz Medal + invitation to attend the annual ceremony (travel and accommodation covered by Tamayouz).
  • Second prize: $3000 + Tamayouz Medal + certificate + invitation to attend the annual ceremony (travel and accommodation covered by Tamayouz).
  • Third prize: $1,000 + Tamayouz Medal + certificate + invitation to attend the annual ceremony (travel and accommodation covered by Tamayouz).
  • Honourable Mentions: Certificate and invitation to attend annual ceremony.

Jury Comments on the Winners

First Place – Ola Ahmed Maged and Mostafa Hazem from Giza, Egypt

“The jury found this project interesting and engaging, and enjoyed the ‘incompleteness’ of the buildings. The judges appreciated the project’s pervious formations that integrate successfully with one another.

“They also felt that the scale of the project was appropriate and that it featured a suitable amount of monumentality – enough to be a distinguished landmark, while at the same time not intimidating to users or rigid in its appearance. The judges also felt that the project evokes a miniature Arab city, with a successful balance of public spaces and interesting articulation.

“However, the jury felt that the spatial structure could use more work in its relation to the nearby market. Regardless, they felt that this was a rich and interactive project that has been beautifully rendered.”

Second Place – ONE Creative Environment (Jason Whittall, Dan Martyr and Fatimah Al-Muqdadi) from Worcester, UK

“The jury commended this project and its objective to empower user ownership. They found the presentation to be thorough and complete in its addressing of engagement with the youth.

“The judges thought that the project’s central recognition connects with the city very successfully, and they appreciated the roofing and modularity of the project. The jury felt that this project illustrates spaces that can be used in real ways, while also being very constructible without falling into nostalgic forms.

“However, they questioned the use of the wall around the project, and if this contradicts its powerful central premise. Regardless, the judges found the canopied route that stretches across the site to be very welcoming and successful in separating the spaces while bringing them together at the same time.”

Third Place – 2218 Architects (Oğuz Bodur, Sara Kerimi, Nilay Altınay and Anıl Aydınoğlu) from İzmir, Turkey

“The jury commended the temporality of this project, and found it inviting to the youth. The judges appreciated how the streets were continued through the project, as well as its successful balance of hard and soft scapes.

“They also admired the treatment of the large plaza, and found it very coherent. The jury felt that the simplicity of the project would give choice to the users in terms of their interaction with it, and that the design features a successful human scale.

“However, they felt that the design was a bit scattered, and that the use of oak was not appropriate to the context, as it is not a local material. Also, because the design is mostly exposed climatically, they wondered how the experience of the project in the warmer seasons would be for the users. Regardless, the project’s modularity and adaptability were appreciated and commended by the jury, who found such elements to be representative of freedom.”

Jury Comments on the Honourable Mentions
*Arranged in alphabetical order

Abdelrahman Adel, Abdallah Mekkawi and Hesham Emam from Cairo, Egypt

“The jury found this project very rational, and that the design was of high quality with a lot of potential. However, they felt that the solution was better suited for an educational project. Additionally, while they commended the use of a single element for multiple purposes, in some places this approach did not provide a strong sense of place within the project. The jury also felt that the link with neighbouring areas could be worked on.”

Hussein Al-Bayati from Baghdad, Iraq

“The jury enjoyed this project, and felt that it presented a strong idea. They found it to be a powerful intervention that is very accomplished, contemporary and inviting. And while the judges found this design and the use of the circle to be very powerful, they felt that the integration of the buildings could use more work.”

Louis Chapsal, Youssef Mekael and Corrado Scudellaro from Turin, Italy

“The jury found this project very beautiful, and they liked that it takes into consideration the city’s grid. However, they felt that it was perhaps too formalistic and may be better suited for a museum programme rather than a youth house. Furthermore, the project’s heavy use of palm trees could be reconsidered, as they require extensive cultivation.”

​Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed Elemawi from Gaza, Palestine

“The jury enjoyed this project and found that it was beautifully designed with nice materiality. They also felt that sinking the whole site generates interesting spatial qualities, but that this might produce questions of security as it limits visibility. Furthermore, the judges felt that the design might be too rigid for a youth house and that its monumentality could be worked on.”

Sara Mostafa Ali, Ahmed Samy, Ahmed Ashraf and Mahmoud Amgad from Cairo, Egypt

“The jury appreciated this project’s maximalist approach, and the designers’ effort to address different moods and interests of the users; however, they felt that the distribution of the programme across the site could use more work.”

Spot (Nizar R. Jarallah) from Baghdad, Iraq

“The jury enjoyed this project’s use of interesting symbolic elements and its attempt to bring life to the grid system. The jury found this project eclectic and exciting, and felt that it fosters imagination. The analytical study of the site was also a strength of the project. However, the jury felt that perhaps the project had too many elements, and that this might have overwhelmed the project. The judges thought that the project might benefit from the ‘less is more’ approach, in terms of colours, ideas, and design elements.”

The Dewan Award for Architecture is named after Dewan Architects + Engineers, one of the world’s most established and leading architecture firms, particularly to emerge from the Middle East. It is a joint prize held in partnership between Tamayouz and Dewan. Seeking regional and international proposals, the award aims to recognise design solutions that respond to local challenges in Iraq.

For its inaugural theme in 2018, the award sought proposals for a school in Iraq’s marshlands. Information about 2018 winners can be found here. In 2019, the award was themed the regeneration of Al Umma Park in Baghdad, and information on the winning projects can be found here.

Tamayouz Excellence Award is sponsored by Kufa – Makiya Charity, Dewan Architects + Engineers, Ayad Coventry University, the Iraqi Business Council in Jordan, British Airways, Al-Tuhafi Architects, Bonair Ltd, Final Fix Interiors, JT+Partners, LWK + PARTNERS, and the United Nations Global Compact – Iraq Network.

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