Celebrating Excellence at the Middle East Architect Awards

Last year’s Middle East Architect Awards saw a record number of entrants as awareness of the event and the prestige it carries grew across the region.

But the increase was also indicative of the fact that more projects had been launched and completed in 2012 as the upturn in the economy gained pace and sustainability.

This year things are looking even healthier with new concepts very much in the ascendency, work starting on pioneering projects and scemes put on hold over the last few years. starting again.

With enthusiasm, commitment, drive and a will to succeed, together with a blinding array of breathtaking projects in the pipeline, this year’s awards ceremony – set to take place on Tuesday November 5 at Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Dubai – looks set to be the most successful yet.

And while companies, professionals and members of the business community look forward to celebrating industry excellence throughout the Middle East at the 6th ceremony here is a look at who triumphed at the event last year.

At a gala ceremony in The Westin, Dubai, six experts rigorously examined the 13 categories before naming the winners.

US-based giant Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM) enjoyed a massively successful night, picking up three awards.

As well as winning Large Architecture Firm of the Year, the company also received the number one spot for the award of Engineer of the Year (William F Baker) and Public Sector, Institutional & Cultural Project of the Year (Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre, Abu Dhabi).
Collecting the first award, consulting partner George Efstathiou said: “They use us as an example and called us a legend.”

Dubai-based firm GAJ also received multiple honours, with awards for Architect of the Year (Jason Burnside) and Hospitality & Leisure Project of the Year (The Chedi, Korfakkan, Sharjah).

Burnside, who triumphed amidst strong competition, said: “Without a doubt this is one of my career highlights.”

Sheppard Robson won a brace of prizes for the Siemens Middle East Headquarters at Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, for the categories of Sustainable Project of the Year and Commercial Project of the Year.

Company managing partner, Malcolm McGowan, said after the project was praised as a prime example of efficiency and sustainability: “This is our first foray into designing highly efficient floor plates in another country.”

Another two awards were given to Kuwait and Spain based AGi Architects, for Boutique Firm of the Year and Residential Project of the Year (S Cube Chalet, Kuwait).

Dr Nasser B Abulhasan, principle, said: “The joy is not just mine, but shared by the team and the client who lives in the project and allowed us to challenge the norm.”

Other winners included Abdulla Al Shamsi from Shape Architecture who was announced as Young Architect of the Year. Judges said Al Shamsi was exploring the boundaries of architectural design.

Holley Chant from KEO was Principal of the Year and placed first for her leadership qualities and commitment to sustainability. She said: “I am just completely stunned and overwhelmed. The important thing in sustainability is leading a team shoulder-to-shoulder.”

Engineering Firm of the Year was Buro Happold, whose regional managing director Roger Nickells said: “We have got a firm full of passionate people who love what they do, so this prize is very rewarding.”

Jean Nouvel’s Doha Tower was Overall Project of the Year after the judges described it as an integration of Islamic architecture, bridging modernity and tradition.

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Winners of the 2012 Middle East Architect Awards:

Residential Project of the Year
AGi Architects – S Cube, Kuwait City

Hospitality & Leisure Project of the Year
GAJ The Chedi Korfakkan, Sharjah

Public Sector, Institutional and Cultural Project of the Year
SOM Sheikh Khalifa Medical City

Commercial Project of the Year
Siemens Middle East HQ, Masdar City Sheppard Robson

Overall Project of the Year (built project)
Burj Qatar – Jean Nouvel

Sustainable Project of the Year
Siemens Middle East HQ, Masdar City – Sheppard Robson

Boutique Firm of the Year
AGi Architects

Large Firm of the Year

Engineering Firm of the Year
Buro Happold

Architect of the Year
Jason Burnside, GAJ

Young Architect of the Year
Abdulla Al Shamsi, Shape Architecture

Engineer of the Year
William F Baker – SOM

Principal of the Year
Holley Chant – KEO

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