The Dewan Award is an international award that elevates the ideas of architects and engineers who are responding to many of Iraq’s post-war challenges. Past contests have sought to build spaces for homeless girls and the regeneration of Al Umma Park in Baghdad, among others. This year's competition drew 137 entries from 33 countries. Cash prizes of $6,000, $3,000, and $1,000 will be awarded to the first, second, and third-place winners, and a special ceremony honoring each team will be held in London at the end of 2024.
This year's brief tasked urban designers to come up with a scheme that would radically alter Basra, Iraq’s Dakeer Island, a former British naval base that was first constructed in 1918 into a new socially and commercially beneficial development with linkages to the mainland. “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,” expressed Mohamed Al Assam, the Executive Chairman and Founder of Dewan Architects + Engineers said of the results.
Upon its review of the submissions, the jury commented, “The projects demonstrate a commendable level of creativity and thoughtful consideration of the competition theme, showcasing various design approaches 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 notable 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.”
An overview of the winning projects can be viewed below. More information about the 2023 Dewan Award winners can be found here.
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
Jury comments: “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
Jury comments: “A powerful configuration of spaces and masses. Introducing shading landscape, perforated walls, and wind catchers. 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
Jury comments: “A well-organized 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 needs further investigation of several challenges, for example, the changing water level in Shatt Al Arab (tide and ebb).”
RELATED COMPETITION Dewan Award For Architecture 2023
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