Tamayouz Excellence Award


Tamayouz Excellence Award is delighted to announce the winners of the eighth 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 highly commended were selected out of 908 submissions, representing 151 universities from 64 countries. 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 Saad Algburi from Al Nahrain University. Second place goes to both Mustafa Jamal Hussein from Uruk University and Sarah Abdulsattar Alsaady from the University of Baghdad, and the third place winner is Mustafa Aziz Al-Abade from Mosul University. The Iraqi Graduation Projects Award also recognises six honourable mentions, a supervisor 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 December 2019 in Amman, Jordan. The winners and honourable mentions were selected by Tamayouz Excellence Award’s jury members, who met in October 2019 at Coventry University in the UK. The jury members for the 2019 cycle were:

  • Professor Khaled Al-Sultany, Architect and academic; Copenhagen, The Netherlands
  • Dr Lucelia Rodriquiz, Associate professor at the University of Nottingham; Nottingham, UK
  • Firas Hnoosh, Design director and tall buildings expert; Dubai, UAE
  • Katherine McNeill, Academic at Coventry University; Coventry, UK
  • Muthar Al Salloum, Architect and co-founder of MAS Architecture; London, UK
  • Akram Ogaily, Senior vice president at Hill International; Dubai, UAE
  • Evdokia Tzabella, Architect ; Volos, Greece

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

The winners of Tamayouz Iraqi Graduation Projects Award 2019
*The winners’ selection and ranking are based on the judging panel’s unanimous decision on all entries.

First place – Saad Raad Algburi from Al Nahrain University
Saad Raad Algburi’s ‘Interactive Architectural Center’ aims to establish an educational centre that specialises in portraying architecture as a link, with a focus on bridge building between the community, architects and students of architecture. The centre intends to make information about Iraqi architecture, as well as international architecture, accessible to the public with the hopes of educating it on the role of architecture in the development of civilisation

Jury Comments

“This project has a very commendable subject and noble cause in educating the public and improving the built environment by spreading knowledge. We found the site selection in a very urban, vibrant part of the Iraqi capital with very important historical buildings quite interesting. The student has clearly analysed the site thoroughly, which is visible through the project’s levels and how the site might link with the wider urban fabric especially via pedestrian connectivity.

“The project is very successful in terms of its scale and relation to its context. The resulting design, which incorporates elements of vernacular architecture, is interesting with intriguing views.

“However, the project could benefit from simplification in some places. The use of vernacular elements to manage the climate would have made the project richer. In general, this is a well-resolved and detailed project.”

Second place (joint winner) – Mustafa Jamal Hussein from Uruk University
In Mustafa Jamal Hussein’s ‘Restoration of Al-Bab Al-Wastani Area’, the architect proposes an architectural solution to the revival of Al-Wastani Gate, an important element in Baghdad’s history that dates back to the Abbasid era. One of the few remaining gates of the outer wall that used to surround the city, the gate protects the cemetery of Shaikh Omar Al-Sahrawardi. The project’s design language and its materials are inspired by and sourced directly from the site.

Jury Comments

“This project is very inspirational and transformative, as it tackles local challenges through solutions informed by a holistic understanding of context. It responds well to the social context, and illustrates a strong physical connection to the wider built environment.

“The project is also rich in research, and illustrates a declared architectural intent and design vision through conserving historical urban references, accessibility issues, spatial facilities with an excellent mix of plan programme, and materials with technical realisation.

“However, we found that the sale of the underpass that connects both sides could be further elaborated, as underpasses can be problematic. Sustainability is also addressed in various ways, from reduction of pollution, greening and use of local materials, but it would have been good to add sustainability/energy efficiency targets for the proposed building variations.

“Regardless, the proposition of Baghdad’s square framing the gate is wonderful, and there is a high level of sensitivity. This project is professionally presented and very accomplished. The beautifully designed panels are very clear and the renderings are stunning.”

Second place (joint winner) – Sarah Abdulsattar Alsaady from University of Baghdad
In ‘Renewal of Dawasa Street in Mosul’, architect Sarah Abdulsattar Alsaady proposes the revival of a former cultural avenue that was originally known for its libraries, cinemas and museums, as well as its spaces for religious worship. While its identity experienced different phases, from turning into a commercially-driven hospitality district to being a mainstay for Isis, Dawasa Street remains a cultural emblem that deserves rebirth, according to Alsaady, whose project outlines a strategy.

Jury Comments

“An imaginative and careful study of the existing urban conditions, this project is the result of a very good analysis of Mosul’s recent history, survey of the recent destruction and the identifying of key monuments to protect.

“The urban intervention is successful in its aim to link the three monuments, and could very well succeed in regenerating central Mosul and revitalising Dawasa Street. The response to the local issue feels natural and appropriate. The project also makes great use of technology to celebrate historical architecture.

“However, the implementation of this regeneration effort could have been done more sensitively. There is an excessive use of freestanding arches and the landscaping could be more interactive and richer. Also, the idea of duplicating the Al Ta’meem building by Rifat Chadirji in a contemporary way and on a larger scale could create an undesirable result. Perhaps it would be better to rebuild it. In general, this project is exceptionally inspirational and we commend its reference to the past while building for the future.”

Third place – Mustafa Aziz Al-Abade from Mosul University
Mustafa Aziz Al-Abade’s cultural project aims to salvage the remaining archaeologically and historically valuable monuments scattered across the city of Mosul, and their surrounding areas. Vulnerable to the threat of neglect or destruction, the listed monuments include Nergal Gate, Qara Sarai and the Old City. Al-Abade’s project hopes to rehabilitate the sites and houses located around the structures by reflecting the Mosul architectural language and sourcing local materials.

Jury Comments

“This project is exceptionally inspirational and addresses the restoration of the historic fabric of a destroyed city. It aims to tell a storey to its future visitors. The site on the Tigris River is an interesting choice, and the project features a good analysis of historic buildings.

“It also achieves a strong sense of place, as the project embraces the old walls well and features an interesting re-making of the typical urban fabric. This is a sophisticated project with a strong cultural sensitivity.

“However, the study of the urban fabric, accessibility, pedestrian and vehicular routes to and from the site and wider context is lacking. Also, while the courtyard is lovely, we wonder if the architectural style is suitable for the programme of the building. Regardless, the quality of visuals was very good, and were professionally modelled and rendered.”

Honourable mentions
*Arranged in alphabetical order

Abdulqadir Qadri from German Jordanian University
Abdulqadir Qadri has designed ‘Madaba Archaeological Park’ to honour the historically significant region and play an active role in the city’s urban fabric and public space. Qadri’s design attempts to negotiate with the current landscape and resolve the existing relationship between the current spaces and the environment, rather than impose an architectural intervention. The proposal is an open museum that works with the unused spaces between buildings, vegetation and rooftops.

Jury Comments

“This entry is very inspirational and transformative of a local area, and we commend its intent to regenerate an underused museum. The project responds very well to the social and physical context and addresses its connection to the surrounding context. The architecture is calm and restrained in keeping with the historic buildings surrounding the project and is sympathetic to the wider context.

“However, the project could benefit from more research and a clearly defined plan programme with technical realisation. And while the inside views are great, as this helps us understand the building, the exterior could be more exciting.”

Ahmed Shihab from University of Baghdad
Ahmed Shihab has presented a system of waste management for Baghdad that deals with collecting waste, material recovery in a facility, and then a recycling factory. The three-point plans, which challenges the current waste dumping points located across the city, addresses the problem of Baghdad’s garbage crisis, while attempting to offer sustainable solutions that benefit the environment.

Jury Comments

“This project responds very well to the local environment, as well as social and physical conditions. It also sets out to resolve local issues and educating the local community. It illustrates a well-drawn plan programme and reflects a good understanding of various spaces and the relationship between them. We commend the climate and recycling strategy, as well as the project’s use of industrial materials. There is a clear passion reflected in the project.

“However, it would have been good to see a circular economy addressed, as it would fit in well with the project. Also, while the intent and vision are there, more focus on the design resolution would strengthen the project.”

Dyako Hiwa Ali from Cihan University / Sulaimaniya
Dyako Hiwa Ali’s ‘Sustainable Tourism Complex in Azmar’ is a tourism complex located in Sulaimanyah. Intending to create more access to the region’s Azmar mountains and the surrounding landscape, the project honours the natural beauty while also hoping to enhance the local and tourist experience of the site.

Jury Comments

“The ambition and energy of the project, and its attempts to investigate landscape topography and traditional forms, is a strength. We commend the integration of environmental design considerations with the building form, such as self-shading, ventilation and courtyards.

“However, the project could benefit from readdressing scale and density. Information about tourists, customers, etc, would help back up the need for such a complex. Also, the massing seems unjustified in such a mountainous location and the impact of the project on the nature surrounding it should be considered.”

Inas Mohammed from University of Technology
‘Wadi Hijlan Ecological Spa’ by Inas Mohammed aims to revitalise the tourism sector in Wadi Hajjlan, located in Iraq’s low valley of Hajjlan, while also creating a new landmark destination that encourages interaction with the eight sulfur water springs located there. The resort offers recreation, rest and treatment, and was designed considering the topography of the site

Jury Comments

“This entry features good site analysis in terms of understanding the immediate context and history. The response in using a design language that mimics the landscape and sulphur rocks is interesting as it communicates the designer’s sensitivity to the context.

“However, imitating the landscape could feel too artificial. Also, the project would benefit from readdressing environmental issues, given the topic and concepts. It would have been better to focus on designing an ecological building than following the site shape to manage the building’s impact.”

Larah Dler from University of Salahaddin
Larah Dler has designed a centre for cerebral palsy to respond to the needs of those affected by the condition in Iraq. The ‘House of Cerebral Palsy’ aims to provide treatment and care, and follows an architectural language informed by the needs of those who would use the building, which is evident in its circulation, incorporation of ramps and linking pathways. The complex also features a dormitory for those that don’t have anywhere else to go, as well as gardens, social areas and education zones.

Jury Comments

“Visually compelling and well-presented and illustrated, this project is a touching and original response to a relevant subject. It features elegant architectural treatment with fin cladding, with the landscape platform perhaps the strongest aspect of the design.

“However, not enough information on the original site is provided, thus making it difficult to judge its limitations and the project’s response. Also, while there are clear environmental considerations, especially at the conceptual level, not all of them of efficiently integrated into the design. Regardless, this aspect has good resolution.”

Sanarya Salar Rafiq from Cihan University / Sulaimaniya
The ‘Kurdish Folklore Craft Center’ is a space intended to keep Kurdish crafts alive. Its design mixes two different styles: one that is modern with local sensitivities, and the other that is more traditional. Hoping to tell a story through its architectural language, the building attempts to integrate into the topography and features multiple functions, such as cultural, educational and economical.

Jury Comments

“Drawing inspiration from traditional weaving techniques of Kurdistan to drive the design of the façade is commendable. And the project clearly justifies the need for a craft centre – it’s nice to see that the student has spoken to local craftsmen to take their views. A building is a useful tool to help keep a culture alive, and the project’s description of its concepts and their relation to existing traditions is well done.

“However, the project could better translate this concept architecturally. While the plans and sections are well drawn, it is sometimes difficult to understand how visitors make their way through such a complex building made of several parts. Also, the mixing of old and new styles could be done more sensitively, so as to ensure that an authentic result is achieved.”


The Hisham Munir Award for the Iraqi Academic of the Year 2019
The Hisham Munir Award (previously known as Supervisor of the Year Award) goes to Dr Sajida Kadhum Al-Kindi from the University of Baghdad for her supervision, support and encouragement to the second prize winner and an honourable mention of the Tamayouz Excellence Award for Iraqi Graduation Projects 2019.

The Tamayouz Iraqi Architecture School of the year Award
The Iraqi Architecture School of the Year Award 2019 goes to Al-Nahrain University, which is responsible for the first place winner and two shortlisted entries.

The Iraqi Graduation Projects Award is part of Tamayouz Excellence Award’s seven-category awards programme that champions and celebrates architecture from the Near East, North Africa and further afield. The award is open to Iraqi students of architecture, urban design, urban planning, architecture technology and landscape design, who are invited to submit their graduation projects. The award aims to recognise excellence in architectural design and education in Iraq, and showcase excellent architectural examples to promote and provoke architectural debate.

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, the United Nations Global Compact – Iraq Network.

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