Tamayouz Excellence Award is proud to announce the winner of its Mohamed Makiya Prize for Architecture 2020, also known as the Middle Eastern Architectural Personality of the Year Award, given to individuals or organisations that have made significant contributions to the advancement of architecture in a specific period of time.
The winner of the Mohamed Makiya Prize 2020 cycle is Ali Jaffar Al-Lawati, a UK-based Omani architect and radio show host. 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.
Ali was shortlisted with 11 other finalists, including Cairo-based design film initiative Film My Design, Stuttgart-based researcher and architect Hanaa Dahy, UAE-based architecture platform Arabesque, Iraqi architect Jalal Algaood, Syrian initiative IWlab, and many others. Read more about our finalists for the Mohamed Makiya Prize 2020 here.
The judges met remotely to determine the winner. The panel members for the Mohamed Makiya Prize 2020 were:
Dr Khaled Al-Sultany, Copenhagen: Iraqi academic, author and architect
Akram Okaily, UAE/Iraq: Consulting architect
Louay Yousif Atrakchi, UK: Founder of Bonair LTD
Mohammad Gharipour, USA: Iranian academic, author and the founding editor of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture
More about our jury members can be found on our jury page here.
After reviewing the submissions, the jury said: “We saw four types of submissions this year: projects with a social impact, which we need in the our region; new areas of architectural interest; research into industrial and environmental building materials; and socially informed architectural design. It was truly humbling to see so many people working to better the region through their different expertises, and contribute to the region’s landscape, either built or through dialogue and research. What we perceive to be very much needed in the Middle East is presented through these 12 finalists, who also contain within them hope for the future. We hope they all continue down the path that they have started, as their impact on the wider community and society will continue to be shown.”
The winner receives the Mohamed Makiya Medal, which was designed by Dr Makiya himself. This medal is given during Tamayouz’s annual ceremony, which will be held in 2021. The winner’s flights and accommodation for attending the ceremony are also covered by Tamayouz Award.
“The idea of Ali’s radio show is brilliant, and its impact and outreach is clear. His ability to discuss important issues related to the built environment and bringing architects to share their views on his show helps spread information and knowledge to his audience, and this is very admirable.
“We find his work very important and necessary, especially as he broadens his platform to speak to wider and wider audiences through uploading the audio files online, on social media and with the new English version of the show.
“What really stands out is that Ali has another full time job, and he is currently working on his PhD at the University of Liverpool, so the radio show is not his main focus, but he works very hard to make it succeed and is very persistent in his delivery. The jury’s only wish is that Ali continues to expand his audience, particularly by continuing to make the information presented on his show more understandable by the general public who might not be familiar with architectural terminology.
“The jury is happy to see the award given to someone who is very hardworking. The Mohamed Makiya Prize should be awarded to a participant (individual or group) who embodies Dr Makiya either through built architecture or as a teacher, in their attempt to spread knowledge. And Ali is doing this by trying to spread the knowledge of architecture in a region where the field of architecture is still quite young. While the region is familiar with music, poetry and art, it is yet to fully grasp the importance of architecture and the architect’s role, and Ali works to broaden the horizon of his audience and the general public.”
Read more about Ali and his work on Round City here.
The Mohamed Makiya Prize is part of Tamayouz Excellence Award’s programme of championing and celebrating the best of architecture. The award is named after Dr Mohamed Saleh Makiya, a great Iraqi architect whose influence and importance remains impactful on the region’s architectural community today. The prize was announced in 2014, in celebration of Dr Makiya’s 100th birthday.
In 2019, the winner of the Mohamed Makiya Prize was the International Journal of Islamic Architecture, which was commended for being a purveyor of innovative and progressive research on architecture in the Middle East, and parts of Africa and Asia. Read the announcement here.
In 2018, the winner was the Aga Khan Documentation Center @ MIT (AKDC@MIT), which won for its role in supporting the teaching of, and scholarship on, the history and theory of architecture, urbanism, environmental and landscape design, visual culture and conservation, as well as the practice of architecture in Muslim societies. Read the announcement here.
And in 2014, the first winner of the Mohamed Makiya Prize was Dr Khaled Al-Sultany, who was honoured for his documentation of modernist and post-modernist architecture in Iraq through his books, articles and essays, in addition to his brilliant talks, speeches that succeeded through his wonderful stories of activating the role of Iraqi architecture for all Iraqis. Read about Dr Al-Sultany on Round City here.
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.