Center for the Study of the Built Environment: 2018 Annual Report
During 2018, CSBE completed the second and final phase of its Enhancing Civic Responsibility of Youth in Schools project, which involves redesigning and rehabilitating the grounds of a number of public middle-schools. In addition, CSBE completed the eleventh cycle of the Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Architectural Design. We also organized an open online course in association with the Education Program of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture entitled “Enhancing the Quality of the Built Environment.” Moreover, CSBE carried out a study on urban agriculture in Jordan in association with the Amman office of the Fredrich Ebert Foundation, and has worked with the Ahliyyah School for Girls and the Bishop’s School Amman on developing the process of selecting an architect for designing a new campus for the merged two schools. As for CSBE's 2018 budget, it showed a deficit of 3,920 JD.
Projects and activities
CSBE completed in 2018 the second and final phase of its Enhancing Civic Responsibility of Youth in Schools project, which was funded by the USAID Civic Initiatives Support Program in Jordan and carried out in association with the Queen Rania Teacher Academy. The project included redesigning and rehabilitating the grounds for a number of public middle-schools located in and around Amman through a highly interactive process that involved the schools' students, teachers, and administrators. These processes aim at promoting civic responsibility among the youth by creating opportunities for them to take part in designing and implementing improvements to their school environments, thus promoting a sense of belonging to and ownership of their schools.
CSBE carried out a series of interactive sessions with the students at each of the schools that introduced them to the basics of design and construction. Through this process, we identified and implemented improvements that the students wished to see in their school grounds. For the first phase of the project, we worked in three schools: the Salhoub School for Girls, the Safout School for Boys, and the Rumman School for Boys. For the second phase of the project, we continued working in two of the three schools involved in the first phase of the project (the Salhoub School for Girls and the Safout School for Boys), and added another four new schools: the Salem School for Girls, Salem School for Boys, al-Jazaer School for Girls, and Ghazaleh Co-ed School.
CSBE completed in 2018 the eleventh cycle of the Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Architectural Design, which CSBE and the regional architectural and engineering firm Omrania and Associates had established in 2008. Students of architecture graduating from universities in Arab countries may submit their graduation projects for the Award. 210 projects from 40 universities from 11 Arab countries (Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates) were submitted for this cycle of the Award.
The Award jury consisted of Jordanian architect Sahel Al Hiyari, Principal Architect at Sahel Al Hiyari and Partners in Amman; Elias Anastas, Design Director at A.A.U. Anastas in Bethlehem and Paris, and the co-founder of Local Industries in Bethlehem; and Ammar Khammash, Principal Architect and Founder of Khammash Architects in Amman.
The Award jury members met in Amman in September to evaluate the participating entries and select the winners. They selected a first-prize winner and two honorable mentions. The first prize winning project was from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik – USEK (Lebanon), and the honorable mention projects were from the American University of Beirut and USEK.
The Award ceremony and exhibition were held in Amman in November at the Amman Electricity Hangar.
Open online courses
CSBE organized an open online course in association with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture entitled “Enhancing the Quality of Urban Life: Fifteen Winning Projects of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.” The course was made available to the public in September 2018. This is the second open online course that CSBE has developed (the first one was on the contemporary Arab City), and is part of CSBE’s efforts to keep abreast of ongoing technological and pedagogical developments as it works on disseminating knowledge relating to the built environment to the public.
The design of a new campus for the Amman School for Girls and the Bishop’s School for Boys - Amman
The Amman School for Girls (ASG) and the Bishop’s School for Boys – Amman (BSA) are amongst Jordan’s oldest and most respected schools. The two schools have been undergoing a process of merging over the past few years, and the process is expected to be fully completed shortly. The schools’ current facilities can no longer satisfy their spatial needs and sustain their values and vision. A decision was consequently made to relocate the two schools to a new campus that would be designed in a manner that satisfies the needs and aspirations of the merged institution in terms of space and facilities, and that is physically more easily accessible to the school community.
CSBE has been working with ASG / BSA in helping them select an architect for the new campus for the merged school. CSBE’s work has included developing a design brief for the new school campus, carrying out a pre-qualification process for the design of the campus amongst interested Jordanian architectural offices, inviting nine pre-qualified offices to submit technical and financial proposals for the new school campus design, and organizing a jury panel that will review the submitted designs and recommend a winning design to the schools’ administration and board of directors. This process is expected to be completed during the spring of 2019.
CSBE produced in association with the Amman office of the Fredrich Ebert Foundation a short online Arabic-language film entitled “Climate Change and Urban Warming.”
CSBE also produced a short documentary in Arabic-language with English subtitles, showcasing the improvements that CSBE carried out at a number of public schools in Amman, al-Muwaqqar, and 'Ayn al-Basha through its Enhancing Civic Responsibility of Youth in Schools project, entitled
“ مشروع تطوير وتنفيذ وسائل تفاعلية لتحسين ساحات المدارس ”
CSBE has continued to actively expand the content of its website during 2018. New material added to the website has included the following:
- Completing the republishing of the over forty articles on water conserving landscapes that CSBE had published between 2002 and 2004 in The Jordan Times
- Adding new sites to the “Amman's Worth-Noticing Spaces and Places” section (http://www.csbe.org/amman-worth-noticing-spaces-and-places).
- Adding three sites to the interactive map that documents various works of street art in Amman
- “Wishes for Amman in 2018.” This publication consists of essays by three experts working in different areas relating to the built environment (Rana Beiruti, Ahmad Humeid, and Farouk Yaghmour) in which they share some of the developments they would like to see regarding Amman's built environment in 2018
- CSBE’s list of destroyed buildings and natural sites in Amman
- An overview of multistory parking structures in Amman
- An introduction to and excerpts from a 1983 book by the late Jordanian contractor Muthaffar Abou Seoud about the projects and buildings he had implemented
-An interactive list / map of museums, galleries, art foundations and cultural centers in Jordan
An article by CSBE Research and Coordination Manager Ali Attari entitled “Climate Change and Global Warming – An Introduction”
A list of water-conserving trees for sidewalks
Social media presence
CSBE continues to strive for a significant social media presence through its Facebook page. These feature regular postings about CSBE's publications and activities, as well as postings with outside links to articles, videos, and events of interest to those concerned with the built environment.
CSBE also continues to manage the Omrania | CSBE Student Award Facebook page, which aims at disseminating detailed information about the Award.
-The number of "Likes" for each of the CSBE and Omrania | CSBE Student Award Facebook page exceeded 7,600 at the end of 2018.
Touma Hamarneh, who holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the German Jordanian University, joined CSBE as a new Research and Coordination Officer. Research and Coordination Manager Ali Attari, and Research and Coordination Officer Afnan Barqawi both left CSBE in 2018 to pursue other opportunities. We thank both of them for the valuable contributions they made to CSBE during the time of their affiliation with us, and wish them the best of luck with their future plans.
CSBE continues to function on a very limited budget, particularly in comparison to its outputs. CSBE’s primary income for 2018 included support obtained from Omrania and Associates for carrying out the Omrania | CSBE Student Award; from the USAID Civic Initiatives Support Program for work on the Enhancing Civic Responsibility of Youth in Schools project; and from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for developing the open online course “Enhancing the Quality of Urban Life.” In addition, CSBE received a generous contribution from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.
CSBE’s total income in 2018 amounted to about 82,690 JD, and total expenses amounted to about 86,610 JD. This resulted in a deficit of about 3,920 JD, which has been covered by previous CSBE surpluses (note: 1 JD = 1.41 USD).
Obeidat and Freihat Attorneys & Counselors at Law have continued to provide legal counseling to CSBE on a pro bono basis. Also, CSBE Director Mohammad al-Asad has continued to give a considerable part of the time he devotes to CSBE on an unpaid basis. CSBE is grateful for their support.
Finally, a special thank you is due to the CSBE staff and board of directors for all the efforts they made to ensure that 2018 was a successful year for the Center.