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MEA Awards 2018 shortlist: Community & Cultural 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 Community & Cultural Project of the Year: 

Centres for Traditional Music by Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen

Dar Al Jinaa and Dar Al Riffa are two similar buildings, part of a project of urban renewal in Bahrain. The ambition is to give a public face to the ancient community of pearl fishers, and their musical and cultural traditions. Each project consists of both the renovation of an existing Dar (‘house’), and a new, added Majlis (‘collective room’). The Majlis will be used as communal spaces for traditional music performances . Both buildings consist of a simple structure of round concrete columns and platforms. Rectangular folding glass facades, equipped with perforated wooden shutters, create intimate interior spaces on the platforms. The entire building is covered by a seamless steel mesh, providing cover from the harsh desert sun, and transforming the buildings into enigmatic, ‘veiled’ objects, protruding from the dense Bahraini urban maze. When the building is in use, the veil is lifted to allow passers-by a glimpse of the performances inside.


Art of Scent by Loci Architecture & Design Studio 

A floating path suspended over a dark reflective pond is a temporary structure by Loci Architecture Design that seeks to create an abstract natural environment using biophilic principles through which to explore and experience the scent art. The bridge extends out to draw visitors into the installation, meandering through an array of undulating sand filled tubes, evoking a sense of being in a forest that both encloses the viewer and heightens the senses. The scent is experienced through 11 carefully crafted scent pedestals consisting of wood tubes with a curved glass top that invites the visitor to engage with and experience each scent. 

Saadiyat Cultural Centre by Aecom 

Aecom is updating a 2009 master plan for Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi due to evolving market conditions in the region as well as a series of planning guidelines have necessitated the plan to be revisited to ensure its compliance with these updates. The vision for the island is to become a hub for culture and the arts, showcasing the UAE’s history and diversification. Standing as an example of the next generation of smart-growth planning in the region, one of the highlights of the development is the Cultural District, focusing on artistic exchange and creative expression for the whole region. The design follows five main themes: culture, tourism, education and legacy, relaxation and celebration and community. Sustainability is a key feature of the design, with an aim to restore lost mangrove and beachfront eco-systems, mandate energy-efficient urban densities, introduce mass-transport systems, integrate a wide range of community and education facilities, and provide housing for a broad range of income groups.

The Rain Room Pavilion by Shape Architecture Practice + Research 

The Rain Room Pavilion designed by Sharjah-based Shape Architecture Practice + Research,in collaboration with Sharjah Art Foundation and SpaceContinuum Design Studio, is located close to Sharjah Corniche, and consists of a site-specific installation created by Random International, providing an immersive experience of continuous rainfall. The Pavilion is volumetrically simple and open to its surroundings on three sides. It plays with the interior/exterior ambiguity by bringing selected character andmateriality of the adjacent urban area into its interior. The rainroom space is sunken 2m below ground level. Accessible through the lobby, the lead up area to the Rain Room is a longitudinal hallway facing Al Mujarrah park, which turns into a narrow, enclosed and progressively dark space with a descending ramp. The ramp leads to one corner of the Rain Room with diagonally across an exit through a partially enclosed ascending ramp with Al Aruba road coming gradually to sight.

Valiasr Mosque By Fluid Motion Architects

The Valiasr Mosque By Fluid Motion Architects is unlike other traditional mosques in the sense that it doesn't have any of the traditional exterior elements including the dome and minarets. Aiming to design a new typology for mosque architecture, the Valiasr Mosque is also designed to be in harmony with its surroundings. The architects expanded the building horizontally versus the more traditional vertical axis. It is the first mosque to have a horizontal-structure-based spatial organisation, aiming to propose a contemporary structure that enters a new era of mosque design. 

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