[Winning Projects] The Omrania | CSBE Student Award 6th cycle

[Winning Projects] The Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Excellence in Architectural Design sixth cycle

In collaboration with the German Jordanian University, a ceremony honoring the five winning projects of the Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Excellence in Architectural Design took place at the German Jordanian University’s Othman Bdeir in Amman, Jordan on January 7, 2014. The ceremony was followed by a reception and the inauguration of the exhibition that features the winning projects of the six Award cycles and a selection of projects submitted for the 2013 sixth Award cycle.

Printphoto credit Basheer Almufleh

The Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Excellence in Architectural Design was initiated in 2008 by Omrania & Associate and the Center for the Study of the Built Environment. It is open to all graduating students of architecture from the universities of the Arab world, who submit their graduation projects to participate in it. The Award provides a unique opportunity for recognizing and encouraging excellence in teaching architectural design, and also in honoring recently-graduating students as well as their instructors and universities. It also promotes healthy competition among architectural programs in the Arab world, and helps focus attention on the process of architectural education there, identifying relevant opportunities and challenges.

Printphotos courtesy of CSBE

The Award has been growing and expanding over its six-year existence, and it provides a very useful indicator in helping assess the quality of architectural education in the Arab world and in encouraging students, teachers, and programs of architecture to further enhance existing skills and resources. 150 projects from 37 universities from nine Arab countries (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates) were submitted to the sixth cycle of the Award. The Award’s jury met in Amman on September 30, 2013 and October 1, 2013.  The jury members consisted of Shahira Fahmy, founder of Shahira Fahmy Architects in Cairo; Bernard Khoury, founder of DW5/Bernard Khoury in Beirut; and Murat Tabanlıoğlu, co-founder of Tabanlıoğlu Architects in Istanbul. They awarded equal winning prizes to five projects. The winners are as follows:


Nassmah al Ghoussein

Project: Treading the Line, Beirut’s Interactive Hackerspace
American University of Beirut
Instructor: Karim Nader

This project presents an intervention in two abandoned cemeteries in Beirut, Lebanon, which are among the many abandoned areas that still show marks of Lebanon’s Civil War. It transforms the cemeteries into public spaces that also contain workshops for production and creation. The project links the two cemeteries with other plots in the surrounding urban block, and introduces buildings containing studios, screening areas, galleries, and a theater. The project’s architecture also visually connects it to the cemetery.

Find out more about Nassmah’s project here


Renall Elghoul

Project: All senses pavilion – Experience box
Birzeit University
Instructor: Shaden Qasem

This project, which is located in Ramallah, Palestine, was created as a place where visitors may get relief from the difficult political, economic, and social circumstances that Palestinians continuously face as a people under occupation. The aim of the project is to create a place to where people go for entertainment, enjoyment, discovery, learning, stimulating creative thinking, and social interaction. The project consists of open green spaces and “boxes” that are interconnected by colorful tunnels and sidewalks. By using various colors to connect these different spaces, it emerges as a maze that stimulates the visitors’ senses.

Find out more about Renall’s project here


Haneen Khouli

Project: Machine in an empty and vast territory – Tension of permanence
American University of Sharjah
Instructor: George Katodrytis

This project is located in a rough mountainous area, and consists of two structures that crawl over a mountainous edge in an interdependent manner: a main movable structure and solid fragments that depend on its movement. An analysis of a ballerina’s performance was used as the generator of the project’s form.

Find out more about Haneen’s project here


Parastoo Najafi

American University of Sharjah
Instructor: George Katodrytis

The concept of this project is derived from the process of crystallization. It deals with creating spaces that are a result of the formation and the decaying of crystals. Large crystals with rough surfaces consisting of salt ‎and Aluminum Potassium Sulfate mixed with water are made to grow around smaller seeds in a geometric manner through a controlled chemical process. Concrete is then cast on the surfaces of the crystals. The crystals eventually melt due to climatic and environmental conditions, leaving behind forms and negative spaces through which light penetrates. These spaces are very suitable as places of contemplation and worship.

Find out more about Parastoo’s project here


Ahmad Yehya

Project: Home for Bedouins, Lebanon
American University of Beirut
Instructor: George Arbid

This project is located in the Biqa’ Valley in Lebanon. It addresses the issue of linking vernacular architecture with contemporary needs. The project also challenges current concrete-based construction practices. It is a built project that was created for a family of five who are among the thousands of residents in the area living in tents. By using sun-dried mud bricks and recycled plastic containers and bottles, this eco-friendly housing prototype was built on a very limited budget and incorporates design features that meet the needs of its inhabitants.

Find out more about Ahmad’s project here

Find out more about The Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Excellence in Architectural Design here

Find out more about the participating projects here.

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