Tamayouz Excellence Award


Tamayouz Excellence Award is proud to announce the finalists for the Women in Architecture and Construction Award 2020.

The Women in Architecture and Construction Award is given to women who have contributed to the fields of architecture and construction throughout the Near East and North Africa. Part of Tamayouz Excellence Award’s programme that champions the best of architecture in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond, the annual award consists of two categories: Rising Star and Woman of Outstanding Achievement.

The jury members for the Women in Architecture and Construction Award 2020 were:

  • Nadia Habash, director of Habash Consulting Engineers and adjunct lecturer at Birzeit University
  • Dr Jala Makhzoumi, professor of landscape architecture at the American University of Beirut, president of Lebanese Landscape Association and co-founder of Unit 44
  • Dr Ebtissam Moustapha, co-founder of ENCODE and associate professor at The Knowledge Hub – Coventry University in New Capital Cairo
  • Anna Schabel, director of Wilton Studio Ltd and chair of Women in Architecture
  • Dr Deyala Tarawneh, architect, urbanist and head of the Architecture Department at the University of Jordan.
  • Ahmed Al-Mallak, founding director of Tamayouz Excellence Award

More information can be found about each judge on Tamayouz’s jury panel page.

The judges met virtually to determine the finalists and winners of the Outstanding Woman of Achievement and Rising Star categories. The jury looked for impacts on the wider community and related societies, and appreciated the effort of all participants who applied this year, despite any challenges brought forth by Covid-19. While the judges felt that all participants illustrated strength in their fields and a great ability to overcome context-specific hardships, they valued the holistic balance between academia and practice managed by the selected finalists.

The finalists for the Women in Architecture and Construction 2020 Award are listed below in alphabetical order for each category. More information about each candidate can be found further below.

Rising Star 

  • Deena El-Mahdy – Egypt
  • Radwa Rostom – Egypt
  • Sanaz Ghaemmaghami – Iran
  • Shabnam Khalilpourfar – Iran
  • Yasaman Esmaili – Iran/USA

Woman of Outstanding Achievement

  • Hanaa Dahy – Egypt/Germany
  • Lina Ghotmeh – Lebanon/France
  • Shadi Azizi – Iran

The founding director of Tamayouz Excellence Award and Coventry University academic, Ahmed Al-Mallak, said: “Congratulations to the finalists. We are delighted with the panel’s selection and proud to highlight these amazing women whose contributions are valuable to the built environment in our region and the wider community. Even though there will be a single award, the aim of the award is to recognise the individuals, create visibility for their work and stimulate debate around the value of their contributions among professionals and decision-makers in urban planning and design. The prize also aims to introduce role models to the younger generations.”

In 2019, Tamayouz’s Women in Architecture and Construction Award winners were revered Saudi architect Dana AlAmri for Rising Star and Turkish academic and author Dr Zeynep Celik for Woman of Outstanding Achievement. Egyptian architect Shahira Fahmy won highly commended for Woman of Outstanding Achievement. More about the winners from 2019 can be found here.


Deena El-Mahdy
Assistant professor at the British University in Egypt and co-founder of the Cairo Heritage School

Dr Deena El-Mahdy is an assistant professor at the British University in Egypt, as well as the co-founder of Cairo Heritage School, which aims to bridge the gaps between governmental bodies, professionals and community members. Of her many passions, El-Mahdy aims to integrate digital advanced techniques and additive manufacturing to link education with industry by using local materials to create a sustainable community. Some of her achievements include developing a new Saltblock building material using additive manufacturing, developing a business model for building homes in 24 hours, and most recently, developing 3D printed clay bricks – all of which have received multiple awards and recognitions. El-Mahdy disseminates her research findings through workshops, lectures and publications. Simultaneously, through her work with Cairo Heritage School, El-Mahdy works to address the preservation of local heritage through summer school programmes that focus on the adaptive reuse and conservation of historic Cairo.

Radwa Rostom
Founder and CEO of Hand Over

Radwa Rostom founded her start-up Hand Over in 2014, a social enterprise that uses sustainable construction technology to design and build cost-effective and environmentally friendly buildings for vulnerable communities. Using a human-centred design approach and earth construction techniques, Rostom’s architectural output is thoroughly research-based. Her ultimate goal is to revolutionise the building industry and create a model that could be replicated to create suitable communities and sustainable cities. She has built up a team of experts, material specialists, designers, architects and site engineers to pursue this vision, while equally addressing underprivileged communities by providing cost-effective and humane solutions. Through her work, Rostom and her team advocate for more laws and incentives to encourage more people to understand the techniques and methodologies that they adapt, removing the misconceptions that some may have on earth building solutions or sustainable solutions in general.

Sanaz Ghaemmaghami
Head of Modaam Studio

Sanaz Ghaemmaghami started her studio Modaam in 2009 with a colleague. In the decade since, she grew the practice to have 12 full-time employees and several part-time peers. Despite the many challenges she has faced, such as working in a heavily male-dominated society, in a local industry monopolised by relatively low-quality construction and design, and a national economy that has been facing severe difficulties, Ghaemmaghami has gone on to design various acclaimed projects such as the Cinnagen Pharmaceutical Company and Factory, Medicinal Herbs Museum and the Sabcool Showroom. Her approach to design is highly research-based and she believes in embracing the contextual necessities of every project. Her work illustrates a clear understanding of the context and local needs and her goal is to be effective in changing the face of Iranian contemporary architecture. Previously, she was head of architecture and urbanism at the University of Aradan, as well as head of the department of painting at Sooreh University. With her academic background, she hopes to further spread the approach of study-based design.

Shabnam Khalilpourfar
Co-founder of White Cube Atelier

Shabnam Khalilpourfar co-founded her studio White Cube Atelier in 2012, which aims to build up her and her partner’s hometown of Maku, in the West Azerbaijan province of Iran. There, they have designed and constructed more than 60 buildings despite working in a context devoid of modern contemporary architecture. Khalilpourfar believes it is the architect’s responsibility to create high-quality spaces for better life quality and has dedicated her career to influencing Maku. In doing so, White Cube Atelier have taken it upon themselves to also educate the regional contractors on how to develop the details of their projects, which range from one-off villas to residential complexes, as well as commercial and hospitality projects. According to Khalilpourfar, White Cube Atelier’s projects will further help improve local public taste and reform the city view.

Yasaman Esmaili
Principal at Studio Chahar and Adjunct Professor at University System of New Hampshire

Yasaman Esmaili is an Iranian architect and educator based between Boston and Tehran. In 2017, after a successful international architectural journey which led to the completion of Gohar Khatoon Girl School project in Afghanistan, she founded Studio Chahar, a local yet global collaborative research-based studio, focused on design equity, community engagement and empowerment. Studio Chahar has initiated and completed several projects in Iran, Niger, Afghanistan and the US. Esmaili is also a founding member of united4design, an international design collective formed in 2013 to create a dialogue about architecture and intelligent global practice, and a co-founder of Color My Home, a project focused on finding the meaning of lost homes through architectural thinking by working with recently displaced immigrant and refugee children. Simultaneously, Esmaili is a visiting professor at the University System of New Hampshire. Her work has been widely published and has been exhibited in New York, Munich, Venice, Washington DC, and Seattle.

Women of Outstanding Achievement

Hanaa Dahy
Professor of architecture at University of Stuttgart and director of BioMat Research

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 Dahy herself and a team in Germany, who built three building mock-ups to illustrate their vision toward a future of sustainable architecture. Dahy’s work has been internationally recognised and won various prizes including 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. Dahy 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.


Lina Ghotmeh
Founder of Lina Ghotmeh – Architecture

Lebanese-French architect Lina Ghotmeh founded her practice in 2006, and has, ever since, brought together architects, designers and researchers from different backgrounds and cultures. Viewing architecture as an act of resilience for more humane and ecologically built environments, Ghotmeh’s architecture dialogues strongly with nature. Spanning scales and geographies, from object design to museum architecture, with projects from France to Japan, the work of her practice draws on a historical and sensitive approach to architecture. Among her acclaimed projects is the internationally recognised Estonian National Museum, an ethnographic museum spanning 34,000m2, and Stone Garden tower in Beirut, a project completed in 2020 that reinvents local vernacular techniques. Her studio is also engaged in designing the highly ecological wooden tower Réalimenter Massena, which is dedicated to sustainable feeding in Paris. Ghotmeh is also an academic, and taught between 2007 and 2014 as an associate professor at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture. She has also lectured at the Royal College of Arts, the Royal Arts Academy, the Bartlett school, and the Cité d’Architecture et du Patrimoine.

Shadi Azizi
Architect and vice chairman of the board for Negin Shahr Ayandeh Consultants

​Shadi Azizi is a prominent Iranian architect and urbanist whose works address multiple social issues, including the empowerment of marginalised groups in urban areas, such as women, refugees and the youth. Starting her career by working for multiple architecture and urban design firms before co-founding Negin Shahr Ayandeh Consultants (NESHA) in 2000, Azizi has long tried to improve the conditions of vulnerable groups of society through more than 25 urban design projects, such as her work negotiating for and actualising the idea of paved pedestrian streets in the historical central zone of Tehran, and her revitalization of Tehran’s River-Valleys project, in which she collaborated with urban authorities to promote public parks alongside the river. Azizi believes in the impact of participatory approaches on the outcomes of policy making and design. She is often involved in projects that deal with communities on one end and the urban authority on the other. In such situations, she applies intense negotiation skills in order to achieve better quality of life for various social groups that have a history of being marginalised. In addition to her built work, Azizi is an assistant professor at IAU Central Tehran University, where she teaches studio and theory, and she publishes her research in periodicals and peer-review journals, as well as speaks at public and private events.

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, JT+Partners, LWK + PARTNERS, Final Fix Interiors, and the United Nations Global Compact – Iraq Network.