Judging the MEA Awards

Architect with Brewer Smith Brewer Gulf Salim Hussain was one of the judges at the recent Middle East Architect Awards and feels the profession is in a good way – especially in the Middle East. Here he outlines his thoughts on the issue.

Have you seen the state of architecture in the region recently?

Having had the privilege to be a judge for the Middle East Architect Awards this year, I have seen the state from a wide ranging yet detailed perspective and I am delighted to say the state  is extremely healthy.

The projects (all 169 of them) were diverse in design aesthetic and scale but all had a strong design rigour running through them.

From USE Studio’s slither of a building with its delightful brickwork fenestration to the might of Aedas’  Al Bahr Towers resplendent in the Abu Dhabi sunshine, this was architecture with  a big ‘A’.

Individuals too shone and the energy evident in Yazeed Abualrous’ submission (Young Architect of the Year) was matched by the verve and bravura of Kourosh Hajizadeh’s portfolio (Architect of the Year).

All submissions were extremely well presented and the level of graphic communication of all entrants was commendable.

Whilst individuals were singled out on the night, the whole design community should be very positive about the way design is moving in the region.

A deep level of thought and understanding was displayed in the work and even humble car showrooms have been elevated into something grander – which is the differentiation between building and architecture.

There were many stories of struggle and challenges overcome to achieve the architecture showcased (a common heartache for architects the world over) but a sense of validation also prevailed that this struggle was acknowledged with the commendations and awards handed out.

Overall it was fantastic to see so many people at the award ceremony and let us continue to raise the bar for ourselves, our fellow design professionals and for the wider community.