Tamayouz Excellence Award


Tamayouz Excellence Award is delighted to announce the winners of the ninth cycle of its Iraqi Graduation Projects Award, which aims to support and recognise excellence in architectural design and education among Iraq’s universities, students and academics.

The winners and honourable mentions were selected out of this year’s 139 submissions, representing 18 Iraqi universities and Iraqi students studying abroad. Selection for the top 10 submissions was made based on the award’s assessment criteria, highlighting projects that are aspirational and transformative, and that tackle local challenges through holistic understandings of context.

The first-place winner for the Iraqi Graduation Projects Award is Laila Al-Azzawi from University of Petra. Second place goes to Noor Karim Khan from Tishik International University – Erbil, and the third-place winner is Dastan Hasan from Tishik International University – Erbil. The Iraqi Graduation Projects Award also recognises seven honourable mentions, the Hisham Munir Award for Iraqi academic of the year, and an architectural school of the year.

The Iraqi Graduation Project Award’s winners and honourable mentions will be celebrated during Tamayouz Excellence Award’s annual ceremony held in 2021. The winners and honourable mentions were selected by Tamayouz Excellence Award’s jury members, who met remotely this year. The jury members for the 2020 cycle were: ​

  • Akram Ogaily – UAE: Consulting architect
  • Saman Kamal – Jordan: Architect and owner of Al-Kamal Consulting Engineers
  • Mahmoud Obaidi – Canada: Iraqi artist
  • Dr Lucelia Rodriquiz – UK: Associate professor at the University of Nottingham
  • Firas Hnoosh – UAE: Managing director at Nordic Office Architects
  • Katherine McNeill – UK: Architecture Course Director at Coventry University
  • Muthar Al Salloum – UK: Architect and co-founder of MAS Architecture
  • Jerome Goyard – France: Architect and competitions director at 55
  • Muhsen Zaki – Sweden: Architect and urban planner
  • Turath Jamil – France: Architect and researcher

More information about our judges can be found on our jury page here.

After reviewing the entries, the jury commented: We are delighted to see more human-scale projects this year. The students have clearly been focusing on repurposing existing spaces and uniting people through their designs, which is greatly appreciated. Many submissions presented very high-quality visuals that clearly depict an intimacy of spaces and that communicate what it would be like to experience such projects in reality. We welcomed the flurry of projects that drew on the urban context. Moving forward, we would like to see real sustainability integrated within the projects, as well as a focus on realistic projects that cater to the current needs of the people. In general though, we were very pleased with the submissions and happy to see such high-quality design and thought process.”

Founding director of Tamayouz and academic at Coventry University, Ahmed Al-Mallak, said: “Congratulations to the top 20, honourable mentions and the winners. With suspension of teaching from October 2019 to March 2020 in southern and central cities as a result of the public uprising of October, which was then followed by the disruption caused by Covid-19, the results of this year reflected the difficulties students faced in 2020 and the universities’ response to the challenges.”


  • First place – Three-month paid internship with Dewan Architects + Engineers in Dubai + Certificate + An invitation to attend the annual ceremony and the international design workshop (travel and accommodation covered by Tamayouz).
  • Second place – Three-month paid internship with Dewan Architects + Engineers in Dubai + Certificate + Invitation to attend the annual ceremony and the international design workshop (travel and accommodation covered by Tamayouz).
  • Third place – One-month paid internship with Final Fix Limited in Dubai + Certificate + Invitation to attend the annual ceremony and the international design workshop (travel and accommodation covered by Tamayouz).
  • Honourable Mentions – Certificate + Invitation to attend Tamayouz’s annual ceremony and workshop.
  • Architectural School of the Year – Plaque.
  • The Hisham Munir Award for the Iraqi Academic of the Year – Tamayouz Medal + Certificate + Invitation to attend Tamayouz’s annual ceremony and workshop.

The Winners of Tamayouz Iraqi Graduation Projects Award 2020
*The winners’ selection and ranking are based on the judging panel’s unanimous decision on all entries.

First place – Laila Al-Azzawi from University of Petra, supervised by Yasmine Soudi
Laila’s project, ‘Behind the Theatre’, is a visitor’s centre that represents the culture and tourism for the people of Jabal Al Joufa in particular, and the people of Jordan in general. The attempt of the project is to spread tourism from Amman’s city centre to the top of the mountain, while also emphasising an important landmark in Amman – the Roman Theatre. The project is located above the theatre and consists of two lands that are cantered by Bait AlSha’r. The centre aims to revive the ancient function by emphasising the cultural side of the house.

Jury Comment
“This project complements its environment, despite the challenges of designing for this site, which is surrounded by many historical areas. The student presented solid calculations and studies, and produced a project of appropriate scale that is very believable in terms of its response to the topography. The project would benefit the area by providing another entrance, while also highlighting the old houses that are nearby.

“We commend this project’s celebration of the theatre, as well as the student’s elegant and efficient presentation. The visuals provided were of very high-quality and clearly portrayed the project’s interior spaces as well as its relation to the surrounding context. The student was also skillful in trying to maximise solar gain by orientating the project appropriately for the site.

“Perhaps the project could have been more curved to further connect with the forms of the theatre. We would have also liked to see more interior visuals, but in any case, it remains a successful solution.”

Second place – Noor Karim Khan from Tishik International University – Erbil, supervised by Noman Bayaty
Noor’s project, ‘Vault House Dormitory’, addresses the growing need within the region for better-equipped and qualified facilities for student housing. Drawing on Robin Dunbar’s theory regarding social development for the average individual, Noor’s project consists of several small residential units that are connected via an abundance of terraces. The vaults symbolise security, as they support the structure of the building, while materials such as concrete blend with more delicate and ornamental materials and features. Throughout the project, there are bicycle lanes which enhance connectivity between the units and the main building. And accounting for the climate in the region, the project’s windows and balconies have wooden perforated screens to help minimise the heat entering the interior spaces, while still allowing in natural light.

Jury Comment
“This project has been nicely planned and arranged, and we commend the student’s use of modular design. The project is simple and beautiful, and most importantly, very livable. The proportions and material used were thoughtfully selected, while the arches throughout create a strong familiarity that has been greatly appreciated by the jury.

“However, we would have liked to see a greater environmentally-conscious effort or process in this project. Perhaps it would have benefitted from covered walkways between the buildings and better resolved plans.

“The elevations though were composed carefully, and there is a lot to appreciate about this project.”

Third place – Dastan Hasan from Tishik International University – Erbil, supervised by Noman Bayaty
Dastan’s project, ‘Urban Rehabilitation – City as Museum’, aims to revive a traditional neighbourhood in Erbil called Taajeel and create a connection between the historic buildings within its fabric. Creating a loop that encircles these segments, and replacing one of the old streets with a green corridor, the project hopes to present the neighbourhood as a museum of itself, revealing and connecting the built forms that reflect its history. Throughout, Dastan enlisted familiar architectural forms such as domes, arches and stairs, as well as materials like brick, to create a visual connection between the buildings and to encourage people to continue along the path.

Jury Comment
“We enjoyed the project’s concept of a city as a museum, as well as the student’s integration of a corridor park. Micro interventions such as this show humility and, in fact, renewal of whole cities can begin with projects that start at this scale. Retaining urban aspects, along with introducing the green link, is highly commendable.

“However, we found that the buildings are not fully connected to the green corridor, which would have benefited the project. And the architectural treatment of the buildings could be improved.
“Regardless, we appreciate the process of this project, as well as its concept and intention.”

Honourable Mentions
*Arranged in alphabetical order

Hiba Adel Al-Azzawi from University of Baghdad, supervised by Dr Ammar Salih Ashour
Hiba’s project, ‘The Revival of the Iraqi Islamic Heritage Center’ aims to create a link between the Grand Mosque of Kufa and the shrine of the companion Maytham Al-Tammar, as well as create public green spaces and an outlet for the people of Kufa. The project also hopes to spread awareness of Iraq’s Islamic heritage, and revive it through various activities.

Jury Comment
“This is a very important and complex site, and the project features lovely views that communicate the ambiance of the project very well. The use of courtyards is commendable, and we appreciate the spaces created by the form of the project. However, the scale of the project could have been treated in a better way, and the massing towards the Imam Ali mosque could be improved – at the moment, it creates a wall rather than engages with it visually. We would have also liked to see visuals that better depict the project’s relation to nearby important buildings.”

Israa Hamid from University of Salahaddin, supervised by Dr Salahaddin Yasin
Israa’s project, ‘Architectural Community Awareness Centre’, aims to spread awareness of architecture and its impact on communities, empowering the general public with knowledge and information as it relates to them. The goal is to educate people about different building typologies, such as their own residences, hopefully leading to more meaningful designs in the future. The centre would also shed light on protecting local and regional identity and building heritage. The project features exhibition, communal and entertainment spaces, such as an outdoor plaza, galleries, offices, and lecture and seminar halls. The project also contains conference halls and a library.

Jury Comment
“We found the idea of this project interesting, and the renders and visuals presented are beautiful. It is great to see a project that celebrates architecture and connects it to a greater audience. However, this project would have benefited from greater connectivity to the surrounding context, and the ground floor could be more engaging. The staggering of the floors might also be unrealistic, as it appears exaggerated. Regardless, we appreciate the artistic value in the concept and approach.”

Mohammad Fouad from Babylon University, supervised by Hussam Jabbar
Mohammad’s project, ‘Ashnan Center’, is a development centre for industry research located in Hilla. Aiming to be a business hub for the city, the project aims to increase productivity and employment, therefore creating a positive impact on the local society, economically and psychologically, as well as encouraging them to stay in Hilla and develop the city.

Jury Comment
“The student has presented a clean design. The complex has a clear and solid identity. However, the project could have benefitted from providing area studies and background information regarding the project’s surrounding urban fabric. Also, the project could be more human scale, so as not to be intimidating to users, although we appreciate its restrained geometry.”

Mohannad Khalaf from University of Strathclyde, supervised by Gordon Murray
In Mohannad’s project, ‘Self & Others: Towards Glasgow as an Inter-Subjective Project’, people are brought together in a space that aims at social and community regeneration in Glasgow. With divisions existing between people, this project hopes to offer architecture as a mediator for coming to terms with oneself and others. In its formation, the project draws its guidance by using non-observable tensions, which are projected into physical reality and translated into a critical architecture. Blending forms and patterns, materials and historical connections, the complex aims to be connected with the nearby historical public park.

Jury Comment
“The jury commends this project’s urban scale, and found it to be very sculptural. We appreciated the artistic approach, but felt there was not enough explanation of the project and how its spaces would work alone and together. Furthermore, the project is monumental, but perhaps an imposition on the river itself, which would need further consideration.”

Sarar Naser Thamer from University of Mosul, supervised by Amer Azzawi
Sarar’s project ‘Development of Al-Nabi Jarjis Area’ is a regeneration proposal of a region in Mosul that has been devastated by ongoing conflict. Full of old religious schools, mosques and a historical shrine, the area also contained several churches and monasteries. While many of these places were destroyed by Isis and the fight to liberate Mosul from its grip, Sarar’s project hopes to develop and rebuild the area and its different spaces, as well as build a museum and culture centre.

Jury Comment
“Preserving historical fabric is a commendable intention and positive message. We were happy to see such a focus in this project. However, the project’s presentation would have benefitted from providing more information on the before-and-after transformation. Images that show the area now along with images of how the project would positively impact the area would have strengthened the presentation. Furthermore, we would have liked to see the student address connectivity to the surrounding fabric more, as well as present more sections and area studies.”

Toqa Alwan from University of Petra, supervised by Dr Hadeer Merza
Toqa’s project, ‘Journey of Knowledge’, aims to shed light on Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad, a significant cultural area known for its famous book market. The project aims to further connect the three common activities enjoyed on this street: buying books, sitting in coffee shops and enjoying the riverfront. In doing so, Toqa has designed spaces for reading, seating areas, as well as a cultural centre at the end of the road which extends over the river. From here, visitors can enjoy views of Al-Mutanabbi Street, the canoes, the port and the landscape. The centre contains several spaces, such as a public art gallery, library and restaurant.

​Jury Comment
“This project is nicely presented, and the drawings expressed the student’s process well. The images are beautiful, and express a poetry of the spaces. However, this project would have benefited from further clarity, such as floor plans to explain the cultural centre. The activated rooftops are also an interesting aspect of the project, but could have been celebrated more in the presentation.”

Yasser Almanhal from Al Nahrain University, supervised by Zina Riadh Abdulla
Yasser’s project ‘A Journey to Babylon’ is located in the city of Babylon, and aims to revive the area surrounding the city’s archaeological site. In doing so, the project intends to upgrade the level of services available in the area to make it more attractive to tourists, while also highlighting its architectural and historical heritage. The project creates an urban centre and gathering areas that represent a recreational and cultural space for locals as well as visitors. It also tries to simulate the historical experience of exploring Babylon.

Jury Comment
“This project has a lot of potential and presents an interesting concept. The visuals and models are engaging, artistic and skillful, and we appreciate the care and effort that went into making them. However, this project would benefit from better connectivity and integration with its historic surroundings, and perhaps it would function better as a pavilion rather than a building that is used daily. The jury wonders if a project with such a strong architectural language would attempt to compete with the nearby monuments, instead of complementing them, which should be carefully considered. Additionally, more shaded areas might make the project more enjoyable for users.”

The Hisham Munir Award for the Iraqi Academic of the Year 2020
The Hisham Munir Award (previously known as Supervisor of the Year Award) goes to Noman Bayaty from Tishik International University in Erbil for the supervision, support and encouragement to the second and third prize winners of the Tamayouz Excellence Award for Iraqi Graduation Projects 2020.

The Tamayouz Iraqi Architecture School of the year Award
The Iraqi Architecture School of the Year Award 2020 goes to Tishik International University in Erbil, which is responsible for the Second and Third Prize winning entries.

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, Round City Magazine.

Stay tuned

Receive All the Tamayouz Updates

Skip to content