Tamayouz Excellence Award is proud to announce the winners of its Dewan Award for Architecture 2023


The Dewan Award for Architecture, organised in partnership with Dewan Architects + Engineers, is an annual thematic prize that calls on participants worldwide to respond to Iraq-specific issues.

This year, the award’s theme was the New Basra’s waterfront, seeking proposals to transform the underused Dakeer Island into a vibrant recreational urban destination for locals and visitors.

The winners were selected out of 137 submissions from 33 countries this year. The selection of finalists was based on the criteria set in the award’s brief.

The winner of the first prize is ADD Architects from Egypt. The second prize is awarded to IAPA PTY LTD from China, and the third prize goes to Taorem Rahul Singha from Bangladesh. Additionally, the Dewan Award proudly recognises six honourable mentions, further exemplifying the exceptional entries showcased in this year's competition.

The members of the jury panel for the Dewan Award for Architecture 2023 are:
  • Dr Jala Makhzoumi - Lebanon: International Federation of Landscape Architects - Middle East Region, acting President, American University of Beirut, Adjunct Professor, Co-chair, Tamayouz Excellence Award Grand Jury 2022-23.

  • Professor Wendy Pullan – UK: Emeritus Professor of architecture and urban studies and director of the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research, University of Cambridge – Co-chair of Tamayouz Excellence Award Grand Jury 2022/23.

  • Fuad AL Kindi – Oman: Chairman of the Oman Society of Engineers - Co-founder, Ibn Khadun Almadaen Engineering Consultants.

  • Dr. Mohamed Al-Assam: Founder/Executive Chairman of Dewan Architects + Engineers.

  • Fernando Olba – Spain: architect and the principal of Fernando Olba Arquitectura y Ubanismo, a Valencia-based, award winning sustainable design practice.

  • Kathy Basheva – UK: Director of Basheva Studio in London and RIBA chartered architect.

  • Nadia Habash – Palestine: Head of the Palestinian Engineering Association - Founder of Habash Consulting Engineers / Adjunct Professor Beirzet University.

  • Dr. Ahmadreza Hakiminejad: Researcher in Architecture and Urban Studies, and Lecturer at the Leeds School of Architecture, Leeds Beckett University, UK.

  • Ahmed Al-Azzawi – Iraq/UK: Award-winning architect and Technical Delivery Manager at Barratt Developments (Non-Voting member).

  • Ahmed Al-Mallak – Founding Director of Tamayouz Excellence Award and Academic at Coventry University (Non-Voting member).

The winner and finalists will be celebrated during the Tamayouz Excellence Award ceremony at the end of 2024.

After reviewing the submissions, the jury commented:

“Following a thorough review of the Dewan Award for Architecture 2023 submissions, the jury commends participants for their diverse and innovative approaches to transforming Dakeer Island. The projects demonstrate a commendable level of creativity and thoughtful consideration of the competition theme, showcasing various design philosophies and solutions.

“While each proposal possesses unique strengths, there are common areas for improvement. Some projects notably integrate program components with sensitivity to the site's history and context.

“Overall, the projects reflect commendable effort and creativity, and the jury acknowledges participants' hard work. The provided feedback aims to guide future development, encouraging a deeper exploration of site-specific challenges, thoughtful integration of functions, and a more nuanced consideration of environmental factors.”

"We are thrilled to witness the remarkable creativity and innovation displayed by the participants of the Dewan Award for Architecture 2023. The transformative proposals for the New Basra’s waterfront, especially the winning entry by ADD Architects from Egypt, reflect a global commitment to addressing Iraq-specific challenges,” said Mohamed Al Assam, Executive Chairman and Founder of Dewan Architects + Engineers. “As a company, we are honored to be part of this initiative, fostering a collaborative spirit that transcends borders and contributes to the development of vibrant urban spaces. Congratulations to all the winners and participants who have demonstrated a shared dedication to excellence in architecture and design."

The Prizes
  • First prize: Six months of employment at Dewan Architects + Engineers, renewable for up to one year with 10,000 AED salary per month ($2,722), OR $6000 cash prize, Certificate, and an invitation to attend the ceremony.

  • Second Prize: $ 3000, Certificate, and an invitation to attend the ceremony.

  • Third Prize: $ 1000, a certificate, and an invitation to attend the ceremony.

  • Honourable Mentions: Certificate and invitation to attend the ceremony.

First Place
ADD Architects (Sherif Farag, Abdelrahman Magdy, Ayad Gamal, Suzan El Smahy, Enjy El Meligy, Farah Ahmed, Moaz Abdelnasser, Malak Sameh) from Alexandria, Egypt.

“A poetic narrative that is successfully translated into the design layout. The overall character proposed for Dakeer is interesting, harmonising building volumes, shading and landscaped areas. Except for the towers and trees in the main plaza that appear out of scale, the urban scale of the volumes is responsive to the surrounding city.

“The design of the water edge is sensitive and successfully layered. The waterfront demonstrates a good level of design sensitivity, responsibly adapting to the scale and character of its surroundings. Even though the plan appears simple at first glance, closer inspection reveals rich design elements.”


Second Place
IAPA PTY. LTD. (Paul Bo Peng) from Guangzhou, China.

“A powerful configuration of spaces and masses. Introducing shading landscape, perforated walls, and wind catchers. The design expresses its environmentally friendly approach and successfully responds to its surroundings' urban scale and fabric.

“The concept of “char-bagh” is applied successfully to create an interesting urban fabric responsive to the scale of the urban fabric surrounding the Dakeer.

“The Large slab roof is overpowering and dominant from a drone’s eye view, but once inside, the spaces break up in a very attractive way. Public spaces are appealing, with well-modulated light.”


Third Place
Taorem Rahul Singha from Dhaka, Bangladesh.

“A well-organised and structured proposal, clear intentions and unified architecture in materials, structure, visual impact, and excellent variations in scale from public to personal. The fish market is very well thought through.

“The design successfully pays homage to the history of the city and the site.

“The narrative focuses on similarities between Basra and Venice as justification for a “split island with a canal”. The canal looks good in design but poses several challenges, for example, the changing water level in Shatt Al Arab (tide and ebb).”


Honourable Mention
Abbo studio (Ali Makki Jawad Abu-AlShaeer, Elaf Jasim Abbood Al-Kinani) from Stockholm, Sweden.

The narrative focus on environmental sustainability, ‘biomimicry’ is commendable all the more seeing it has been successfully realised in the design strategies (shading, desalination, natural ventilation and passive cooling). The AWG design of the main plaza canopy is innovative and daring. The volumes, shape and scale successfully give a distinctive character, reflecting the different programmes accommodated.

Architecture focuses mainly on shading large areas, and this is done successfully, and mooring different types of boats – is less successful. Many very large roofs could have been treated with planting or more articulation.

It is unclear how a ‘savannah ecosystem’ is appropriate for humid Basra.


Honourable Mention
ALEF (Mona Mohamed Eisa, Eman Mohamed Eid, Mena wagih Momtaz, Khaled Mohamed Elhosary, Mohamed Abd-El-Nasser, Abdulrahiman Ibrahim) from Cairo, Egypt.

The project showcases an interesting narrative and thought process, demonstrating a commendable vision. It is particularly laudable to propose housing for local residents within the program, reflecting a thoughtful consideration for community needs.

Adding housing, a theatre, a floating market, and a fish market to the program is noteworthy, but their integration into the overall design lacks clarity. There is also a noticeable absence of tiers.

Adding housing, a theatre, a floating market, and a fish market to the program is noteworthy, but their integration into the overall design lacks clarity. There is also a noticeable absence of tiers.


Honourable Mention
Al-Shamil Studio (Ameer Akram, Shamil Ammar Shamil, Ali Zeyad, Anosherwan Qahraman) from Baghdad, Iraq.

The narrative begins intriguingly with the revival of the demolished "Al Siraji" minaret, serving as a central theme in the Dakeer project. The introduction of skewed road angles is a notable design choice, transforming the substantial dimensions of the island and creating diverse textures and formats within the resulting spaces. However, there is a potential concern that the overall success of the design might be overly reliant on the presence of a monument in the centre.

The design is successful in scale and in the volumes of the various program components, and at the same time, it creates a harmonised project character. The requirement for a continuous boardwalk, a waterfront Corniche, appears to be fragmented in the layout.


Honourable Mention
Ali Majid Mohammed, Raed Rabee Nashat from Baghdad, Iraq.

The project, focusing on boats, stands out for its unique concentration on maritime elements, albeit facing challenges with insufficient moorage space. Concentric semi-circular buildings are a notable and distinctive feature, creating enclosed and climatically sheltered open spaces, particularly in the 'arc' building masses.

While the mega-structure effectively houses the complete program, providing cohesive spaces, some observations note that the architectural language could benefit from more distinct character and imaginative elements.

Moving forward, addressing the challenge of insufficient moorage space for boats is crucial. Further clarification on how the design concept translates the elegant movement of boats into tangible elements would enhance the narrative.


Honourable Mention
E-Eleven (Maad Ezzalden, Ibrahem Wahed, Omar Mohammed, Mohammed Kadhim Qassim Lafta, Hussein Jawad Mohammedali) from Baghdad, Iraq.

The design narrative draws inspiration from the architecture of the marshes, demonstrating an intriguing use of reeds as part of innovative building technology. The multi-story fish market built above the canals presents a compelling and atmospheric concept. However, the suitability of reeds and the overall form to the urban context of Basra raises questions.

The planning decision to divide the site into a forested garden area and modular buildings initially appears simplistic but gains depth in three dimensions. The cavernous fish market is a standout feature, although the claim that it is built from twisted reed bunches requires further clarity in its integration with the architectural plan. Further investigation into the coherence between the marsh-inspired landscape design and the massing would contribute to refining the overall design's compactness and cohesion.


Honourable Mention
Tha'er Qub'a Architects from Amman, Jordan.

The narrative focuses on expanding public access to the waterfront, which is a priority of the program. The design offers interesting additions to the program of facilities: ‘fishermen’s neighbourhood’ and ‘culinary school’ for fish dishes Basra is known for. Also commendable is the introduction of roof gardens accessible to the public and although the waterfront corniche is not continuous (encircling Dakeer), the parts developed are successfully designed.


The award is named after Dewan Architects + Engineers, one of the world’s most established and leading architecture firms, particularly to emerge from the Middle East. The Dewan Award is an international award that recognises design proposals responding to Iraq’s local challenges.

For its inaugural theme in 2018, the award sought proposals for a school in Iraq’s marshlands: information. In 2019, the award theme was the regeneration of Al Umma Park in Baghdad; information. In 2020, the award theme was to design a youth house and plaza in Baghdad’s Sadr City; information. In 2021, the award theme was to design a sanctuary for homeless girls in Iraq; information. In 2022, the award sought proposals for a Rehabilitation Centre for Terrorism Victims in Iraq; information.

Tamayouz Excellence Award is sponsored by Coventry University, the Iraqi Business Council in Jordan, Kufa – Makiya Charity, Dewan Architects + Engineers, Bonair Ltd, the United Nations Global Compact – Iraq Network, Round City and the Oman Society of Engineers.

© Click here to read about the other Dewan Award for Architecture finalists.