The Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Architectural Design
2013 Sixth Cycle Winners

Five Architectural Graduates from the Arab World to receive The Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Excellence in Architectural Design at the German Jordanian University.

145 architectural graduation projects from 37 Universities from 9 countries in the Arab World were submitted for the sixth cycle of the Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Excellence in Architectural Design. The projects came from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates.

The Award jury consisted of Egyptian architect Shahira Fahmy, the founder of Shahira Fahmy Architects; Lebanese architect Bernard Khoury, the founder of the architectural office DW5 / Bernard Khoury; and Turkish architect Murat Tabanlıoğlu, the co-founder of Tabanlıoğlu Architects. The Award jury awarded equal winning prizes to five projects. The winners are as follows:

Nassmah al Ghoussein

Project: Treading the Line, Beirut's Interactive Hackerspace, Beirut , Lebanon

American University of Beirut

Instructor: Karim Nader

This project presents an intervention in two abandoned cemeteries in Beirut, Lebanon, which are among the many abandoned areas that still show marks of Lebanon’s Civil War. It transforms the cemeteries into public spaces that also contain workshops for production and creation. The project links the two cemeteries with other plots in the surrounding urban block, and introduces buildings containing studios, screening areas, galleries, and a theater. The project’s architecture also visually connects it to the cemetery.



Renall Elghoul

Project: All senses pavilion - Experience box, Ramallah, Palestine

Birzeit University

Instructor: Shaden Qasem

This project, which is located in Ramallah, Palestine, was created as a place where visitors may get relief from the difficult political, economic, and social circumstances that Palestinians continuously face as a people under occupation. The aim of the project is to create a place to where people go for entertainment, enjoyment, discovery, learning, stimulating creative thinking, and social interaction. The project consists of open green spaces and “boxes” that are interconnected by colorful tunnels and sidewalks. By using various colors to connect these different spaces, it emerges as a maze that stimulates the visitors’ senses.



Haneen Khouli

Project: Machine in an empty and vast territory - Tension of permanence

American University of Sharjah

Instructor: George Katodrytis

This project is located in a rough mountainous area, and consists of two structures that crawl over a mountainous edge in an interdependent manner: a main movable structure and solid fragments that depend on its movement. An analysis of a ballerina’s performance was used as the generator of the project’s form.



Parastoo Najafi


American University of Sharjah

Instructor: George Katodrytis

The concept of this project is derived from the process of crystallization. It deals with creating spaces that are a result of the formation and the decaying of crystals. Large crystals with rough surfaces consisting of salt ‎and Aluminum Potassium Sulfate mixed with water are made to grow around smaller seeds in a geometric manner through a controlled chemical process. Concrete is then cast on the surfaces of the crystals. The crystals eventually melt due to climatic and environmental conditions, leaving behind forms and negative spaces through which light penetrates. These spaces are very suitable as places of contemplation and worship.


Ahmad Yehya

Project: Home for Bedouins, Bekaa, Lebanon

American University of Beirut

Instructor: George Arbid

This project is located in the Biqa’ Valley in Lebanon. It addresses the issue of linking vernacular architecture with contemporary needs. The project also challenges current concrete-based construction practices. It is a built project that was created for a family of five who are among the thousands of residents in the area living in tents. By using sun-dried mud bricks and recycled plastic containers and bottles, this eco-friendly housing prototype was built on a very limited budget and incorporates design features that meet the needs of its inhabitants.

The Award Ceremony will be held in association with the German Jordanian University in Amman during December 2013.

The Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Excellence in Architectural Design was initiated in 2008 to recognize distinguished architectural graduation projects among students of architecture at Jordanian universities. In 2009, the scope of the Award was expanded to include students of architecture from throughout the Arab World. The Award was founded by Omrania & Associates (O & A) and the Center for the Study of the Built Environment (CSBE). O & A is an architectural and engineering consulting practice based in Riyadh, with offices in Amman and Manama, and has more than 35 years of experience in the Middle East and Europe. CSBE is a non-profit, private study and research institution that aims at addressing the challenges that affect the built environment in Jordan and beyond.

The Award is intended to help focus attention on the process of architectural education in the Arab World. It aims at recognizing quality in the teaching of architecture and encouraging students to excel in their design performance. It provides an opportunity for honoring recently-graduating students as well as their instructors and universities, and for promoting a healthy environment of competition among architectural programs in the Arab world.

The Award has grown and expanded over its five cycles. Award ceremonies and exhibitions have been held in different cities in the Arab world, including Amman, Beirut, Dubai, Irbid, and Manama. The yearly Award ceremony is held to honor the winners and to exhibit their graduation projects to a wider audience. Detailed information about the five cycles of the Award is available on the CSBE web site at and the Award's website at