Every year, the Dewan Award for Architecture is held with the aim to transform spaces in Iraq for social good. These transformed spaces are intended to serve an empowering purpose: a place to support the health, education, and physical needs of the community. Dewan Award invites all architects, designers, engineers and students to submit their design proposals following a specific brief.
The award is sponsored by Tamayouz, an organisation in high regard for recognising the world’s most innovation architecture and engineering projects through its Excellence Awards, for which the judging panel was once chaired by the late Zaha Hadid.
This year, the Dewan Award for Architure zooms into Al-Mada, Iraq. The name ‘Al-Mada’ means ‘The Cities’ in Arabic. A long time ago, it was a metropolis on the Tigris River; one of the world’s most important natural resources dating back to Mesopotamiuan civilisations.
Al-Mada sits between two ancient royal centres of Ctesiphon and Seleucia. It has been an intriguing site for archaeologists since the 18th century, notably for its most famous landmark, the Arch of Ctesiphon, also known as Taq Kisra.
Now in the fourth year of the Dewan Award, participants are to submit design proposals for a sanctuary in Al-Mada for homeless and underage girls, tackling pressing societal issues faced in Iraq. While winning submissions will make a positive and massive impact on Iraq’s urgent humanitarian crisis, and provide a shelter for young girls, these designs also go to show how architecture and design is a powerful tool for change. Through creativity, the spaces in which a community seeks security can enrich the people’s mental health, education, and potential to rise as leaders.
“Year after year, the Dewan Award for Architecture has demonstrated how fresh perspectives across the industry can comprehensively tackle some of Iraq’s most pressing challenges,” said Mohamed Al Assam, Founder & Chairman of Dewan.
“Our 2021 contest encapsulates architecture’s power beyond designing physical structures; it is also an essential discipline for developing more equitable, sustainable, and progressive communities. Dewan will continue to hold these values close as we continue to work with partners in the Middle East and across the globe to develop quality and sustainable social infrastructure.”
The first place winner will be awarded a US $6,000 cash prize (about RM25,000) or a six-month externship at Dewan, renewable for one year. Second and third place winners will receive cash prizes of US $3,000 and US $1,000 respectively (about RM12,500 and RM4,000). All winners will also be given an all-inclusive trip to the 2021 Award Ceremony.
Dewan encourages design proposals to engage with the surrounding natural environment, such as the Tigris River. This year’s selection jury will be chaired by the University of Cambridge’s Architecture and Urban Studies Professor Wendy Cambridge.
Individuals and teams may register and submit their ideas by 20 November 2021. Results will be announced the following month. For submissions and more information, visit www.dewan-award.com.
(All images: Dewan Award)