MEA Awards, MEA Awards 2018, Middle East Architect Awards, Commercial buildings, MEA Awards shortlist 2018

MEA Awards 2018 shortlist: Commercial Project of the Year

We are pleased to announce the shortlist for the MEA Awards 2018, which will take place on Wednesday, November 21 in Dubai. This year, we have received 361 submissions across 13 categories from 132 companies throughout the region.

The shortlist was created by the Middle East Architect editorial team and will be passed on to this year's judges for review and winners selection.

Here are the shortlisted nominees for Concept Design of the Year: 

Ava Center by Fluid Motion Architects

Located at the foothills of the Alborz Mountain in Tehran, Iran, Ava Center by Fluid Motion Architects combines two different programmes: four storeys of commercial space and six levels of parking - set at the centre of the building structure. As a direct request from the Municipality, the building is a response to the lack of public parking in its respective neighbourhood, with additional parking set underground. The parking and commercial levels seamlessly blend to present a single, unified program, including two vertical atriums that passes through all levels. These voids also provide natural light to all levels of the building, including the commercial spaces. In addition to positively impacting its community, the Ava Center is designed as a visually 'iconic' building as 'added value' for its neighbourhood. 

Aftab Commercial & Office Building by Behzad Atabaki 

Set in a narrow alley that is dense with office buildings, the Aftab Commercial & Office Building in Tehran, Iran is designed with the idea of 'light penetrating through layers of curtain shades'. The main facade is designed using black as a dominant colour with interferences of white which mark the lines and surfaces of the building. The mostly-black block is contrasted by an all-white interior as an image of 'absolute light', and in opposition to its exterior, is contrasted by thin black lines. In addition to the 'lightness' of the white, natural light also enters the interior spaces through the use of large windows. The continuity of this dichotomy is an effort to eliminate the dullness of the alley views. The contrasting interplay of black and white creates a homogenous structure with a harmonious through both interior and exterior. 

Saro Gallery by Mehdi Qanavati and Amin Qorbani

Saro Gallery, designed by architects Mehdi Qanavati and Amin Qorbani, is a showroom space with an area of 35cm2, located in the port city of Mahshahr in Iran. Aiming to connect with the urban fabric of the city, which is located in the southwest of the country, the architects decided to play on the duality of sea and desert, as well as the city's traditional past and modernising present. In addition to connecting the store to its urban texture and responding to its climate, the architects chose to use Thermowood Timber as one of the main materials as the showroom is located at the centre of wood industry within the city. The interior and main facade of the store is rendered in geometric shapes to a mark a 'modern texture', which is contrasted with the use of rustic brick as a nod to the city's heritage. 

Kaarmaan Business Club by Niloofar Niksar and Studio Davazdah

Niloofar Niksar and Studio Davazdah were commissioned by Kaarmaan House to renovate and remodel an old private residence into a meeting and work space that redefines the dynamics of business activities in Iran. The Kaarmaan Business Club aims to construct an 'architectural narrative' that addresses the social framework of the space as well as its functionality, form, and content.The architects also focused on working sustainably by the amount of construction waste, as well as recycle most of the existing elements of the structure. Redefining all the functions of the existing building, the caretaker’s room has been turned into a café, the terrace into a library, and the boiler room into a common room for the staff. A glass box was added to the facade which drew visual emphasis on the entrance, as well as creating a sense of 'stepping into a public space'. The poor and disjointed condition of the eaves were rebuilt inspired by traditional Iranian architecture. 

DL Project by PARALX

The DL Project offers new office space and multi-family housing in a building that defies generic typologies and celebrates its place in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut. Situated at the edge of the city, with green expanses extending beyond like the valley beneath a cliff, the wavy form of the building is generated by taking the mountainous topography of the site views in both plan and elevation, and celebrating the layers of mountains stacked behind one another. The ribbons curve outward to form balconies for residential units with views of the mountains and sun breakers against various angles of the sun at multiple points of the year, providing shade for up to two floors beneath. Balconies are critical components of the Lebanese lifestyle, and function as extensions of living space along the building’s southern elevation to capitalize on views and comfort.The exterior ribbons connect to the building’s concrete skeleton through extensions of the post-tension concrete slab. The waves were cast in white concrete to contrast against the grey panels of the metallic building envelope.