Leading regional practice Dewan Architects + Engineers has recently launched a new award for architects as a joint mission with international architecture initiative Tamayouz Excellence Award. Dewan, which has been involved with Tamayouz since its establishment in 2012, aims for the award to support and encourage young architects around the world while creating challenges to address local urban issues in Iraq.
“Dewan has a long history of sponsoring initiatives as part of its social responsibility, especially with regards to supporting young architects from devastated countries, like Iraq in particular,” said Dewan’s executive chairman and founder Mohamed Al Assam. “Therefore, with the message that Tamayouz holds, it was a natural step forward that we support and sponsor an award.”
The inaugural theme for this year is ‘School in the Marshes’, and asks participants to design a six-class primary school and kindergarten for the marshlands of southern Iraq. Participants must take into account the limitations of the area and the ecological impact of construction on the nature and fauna of the marshes. “The Dewan Award for Architecture will concentrate on subjects that have a reality and represent a real need,” said Al Assam. “We will focus on submitted proposals that promote great interaction with people and that offer architectural and urban solutions. The participants will be encouraged to find practical solutions without neglecting the creative part of the solution.”
The winning prize is a six-month employment at Dewan’s Dubai office, with the potential to extend to 12 months. Offered a competitive salary, the winner will benefit from Dewan’s guidance and gain real-life work experience. “As we have been involved with Tamayouz for a few years, we have found that many of the architecture students that participate in the initiative’s other awards would benefit from professional training,” said Al Assam. “Participants of Tamayouz, especially those coming from Iraq, have a great interest in winning the Dewan prizes, which are short training periods. That’s why we felt that a six-month employment would be interesting and attractive to those entering the award.”
“We felt that partnering with one of the most established architecture firms in the Middle East would enrich the architectural community in the region through a comprehensive corporate social responsibility programme,” said Tamayouz founder and academic at Coventry University Ahmed Al-Mallak, “which empowers younger generations while also responding to local challenges — something that Tamayouz excels at.” According to Al-Mallak, Dewan conducted the necessary research for the subject of this year’s award. Due to the firm’s vast experience working in Iraq, it understands local needs.
“Mr Al Assam felt that with Dewan’s recent award-winning education projects in the UAE, its growing speciality in the sector would benefit Iraq’s local communities,” Al-Mallak added. The Dewan Award for Architecture is now open to practicing architects, students, engineers, planners and designers and nominations can be submitted by visiting www.dewan-award.com.