2006 saw some major changes to CSBE. Its founding director stepped down in July. Also, the Center moved offices from the Jardaneh House in Jabal Amman to Jabal al-Weibdeh, next to the National Gallery Park, which CSBE had renovated the year before as a model water-conserving public park. In addition, CSBE began a relationship with the Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC) that saw the Center's involvement in three projects. A number of other smaller projects were initiated, including a new venture into community-linked urban renewal projects.
Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC), Labor Villages
CSBE was commissioned to provide professional assistance to ADC in tendering for and managing a design service contract to develop guidelines and designs for two workers' villages in Aqaba. Following a CSBE-led procurement process, ICON Architecture of Boston, Massachusetts, was selected and produced useful and workable deliverables for ADC. CSBE's role was to manage the contract and advice ADC on the quality of deliverables and payments.
Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC), Bus Terminal
CSBE was commissioned to design and manage an invited competition for local architecture firms to design a Bus Terminal for Aqaba. CSBE worked with ADC to develop the terms of reference and create a jury committee for the competition. The competition designs will be submitted and evaluated in 2007. The lack of data on ridership predictions left CSBE to design a Ridership Survey and Assessment, which the Center subsequently carried out with the help of United States-based Jordanian transportation specialist Khaled Shammout.
Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC), International School Extension
CSBE was commissioned to design and manage an invited competition for local architecture firms to re-design the Aqaba International School. CSBE worked with ADC to design the terms of reference and create a jury committee for the competition. The competition designs will be submitted and evaluated in 2007.
Jabal al-Jofeh District Upgrading Project (Goethe Institute)
CSBE was commissioned by the Goethe Institute in Amman to carry out a process of community dialogue in Amman's Jabal al-Jofeh district. The purpose was to engage the community to identify some infrastructure needs, and to present and discuss possible solutions. The work was documented by video, and was presented to CSBE's architectural forum Diwan al-Mimar.
Raghadan Neighborhood Upgrading Project (Greater Amman Municipality)
CSBE was commissioned to assist the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) with a project in the Jabal al-Qal'a district, adjacent to the municipality's Raghadan Neighborhood Redevelopment project. This project involved engaging with local communities, mapping the district, and inventorying its assets and challenges. The purpose of the project was to provide the Mayor of Amman with advice on some positive intervention in the area, and to identify how both GAM and local communities can work better together. The main output will be a report with some design ideas. This work was contracted under the Greater Amman Master Plan agreement with the consulting firm Bearing Point.
Energy-Conserving Buildings (European Union, MED-ENEC)
CSBE, in cooperation with Tareq Emteireh of Sweden's Lund University, was awarded the only grant in Jordan as part of a ten-country European Union-funded program to support energy conservation. The grant is related to building a novel energy-conserving pilot residence in Aqaba, and will involve CSBE in the dissemination of awareness material on the project and on energy-conserving material in general.
Graywater Experts Meeting (Canadian International Development and Research Centre)
CSBE was commissioned to organize a regional Experts Meeting on graywater recycling. During 2006, we designed the process for paper submissions, and received and reviewed around twenty abstracts from various practitioners from the Middle East and North Africa. The meeting was supported by a grant from the Canadian International Development and Research Centre (IDRC). CSBE, in association with IDRC, will be publishing a book that includes the papers presented at the meeting.
Museum With No Frontiers (MWNF)
CSBE was commissioned by the Brussels-based Museum With No Frontiers to prepare and upload a number of articles and data elements relating to Islamic art and architecture in the Mediterranean region to their Discover Islamic Art online exhibition (see, www.discoverislamicart.org).
Aga Khan Award for Architecture - Publication on Architectural Journalism and Criticism
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture commissioned CSBE to edit the proceedings of the international seminar on architectural criticism and journalism it had organized in Kuwait in December 2005. The monograph on the proceedings was published at the end of 2006 (see, Mohammad al-Asad with Majd Musa, Architectural Criticism and Journalism: Global Perspectives (Turin: Umberto Allemandi, 2006)).
Study for Identifying and Developing Priority Industrial Areas in Jordan
CSBE completed a study commissioned by EJADA (Euro-Jordanian Action for the Development of the Enterprise) for the Jordan Agency for Enterprise and Investment Development (JAED). The outcome of this study was a detailed and comprehensive industrial map of Jordan, which will support the design of investment strategies for the industrial sector in the country.
Guidelines for Children's Parks and Play Environments
The Greater Amman Municipality commissioned Lara Zureikat, the manager of the CSBE Water Conserving Landscapes project, to develop guidelines for the development of children's parks and play areas in Amman. Lara carried out the study in association with CSBE staff members. The guidelines address issues including safety as well as fostering the child's physical, social, intellectual, and emotional growth.
The Diwan al-Mimar series, the architectural forum that CSBE had initiated in 2000, continued in 2006 with presentations by Nasser Rabbat, the Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States; Omar Maani, Mayor of the Greater Amman Municipality; Walid al-Masri, Mayor of the Greater Irbid Municipality; Samer Akkach, Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Adelaide in Australia; and Lara Zureikat, landscape architect and Director of the CSBE Water Conserving Landscapes Project.
Co-publishing a Monograph of Essays on the Diwan al-Mimar Presentations and CSBE Public Lectures
CSBE is cooperating with Darat al-Funun - The Khalid Shoman Foundation on publishing a monograph that will feature the twelve essays that CSBE has published on its web site documenting Diwan al-Mimar sessions and the public lectures that CSBE had co-sponsored. CSBE will cover all editing costs for the monograph through its own resources, and Darat al-Funun will cover the design and printing costs. Work on the monograph was initiated in 2006, and it is expected to come out during the summer of 2007. This will be CSBE's third monograph publication. The first was the 2004 Arabic-language Water-Conserving Gardens: A User's Manual, and the second was the 2005 English-language Sahel Al Hiyari Architecture.
Exploring the Edge
CSBE published on its web site in 2006 the third issue of Exploring the Edge, which was devoted to the Abu Samra House by Jordanian architect Khalid Nahhas of Symbiosis Designs. Exploring the Edge aims at presenting examples of contemporary design projects relating to the built environment in Jordan that are both innovative and committed to design excellence. Each project featured in Exploring the Edge is provided with documentary information and an analytical essay.
CSBE moved offices during November. The Jardaneh House was passed back to the Jardaneh family with thanks for their hospitality over the last seven years.
Mohammad al-Asad stepped down as Director to devote time to writing and consulting, but has retained his position as CSBE's Chairman of the Board of Directors and also continues his affiliation with CSBE in the capacity of Senior Advisor.
Majd Musa left Jordan to pursue a PhD in architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the United States, but continues to manage the CSBE web site.
Basma Abdallah left CSBE to pursue her interests in design, and has joined the Jordanian firm Ammar Khammash Architects.
Stephen McIlwaine re-joined CSBE on a part-time basis, serving as Director.
Hania Maraqa returned to CSBE after spending four years in the United States during which she completed a master's degree in architecture at the University of Arizona in Tucson and another master's degree in urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has taken on the role of Associate Director, and has assisted Stephen in technical leadership.
Sandra Hiari joined CSBE after completing a year of architectural design work at the office of Sahel Al Hiyari and Partners, and is taking on a number of administration and coordination duties at the Center. She previously had coordinated the design and printing of the monograph on Sahel Al Hiyari's work that CSBE had published in 2005.
Siba al-Shouli joined CSBE following the completion of a master's degree in planning at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the United States. Siba is an architect and planner, and has lead CSBE's planning-related work in Amman and Aqaba.
Israa Thiab was appointed as CSBE's first dedicated administrative assistant. Israa's has a varied background in biology and primary school teaching.
During 2006, CSBE obtained a good number of income-generating projects, which allowed it to cover its expenses and also subsidize its non-funded and co-funded activities such as Diwan al-Mimar, Exploring the Edge, the update and maintenance of the CSBE web site, as well as co-publishing the monograph on the Diwan al-Mimar presentations and affiliated public lectures.
Although CSBE's 2006 budget has increased considerably in comparison to 2005, it continues to be limited in comparison to the amount of work accomplished. CSBE's operating expenses for 2006 amounted to 109,375 JD (about 153,000 USD) and revenues amounted to 119,102 JD (about 167,000 USD), resulting in a surplus of 9,727 JD (about 14,000 USD).
Obeidat and Freihat Attorneys & Counselors at Law continued to provide legal counseling to CSBE on a pro bono basis. Also, the outgoing CSBE director continued to offer a considerable amount of unpaid work to CSBE, in the capacity of director during the first half of the year, and in the capacity of senior advisor during the second half of the year. In addition, the use of the CSBE offices during the first ten months of the year (until CSBE moved to its new offices in Jabal Luweibdeh) was made possible by a contribution from the family of the late ‘Abd al-Rahim Jardaneh, which allowed CSBE since its establishment to use a floor of the ‘Abd al-Rahim Jardaneh house as its offices. The first two stories of the house were built in 1935, and therefore is considered one of the older surviving modern houses in Amman.
CSBE is grateful for the generous support that these institutions and individuals have provided. Finally, a special thank you is due to the CSBE staff and to the members of the board of directors for all the efforts they made in making 2006 a successful year for the Center.