AUS students win grand prize in architecture Inspireli Awards

Inspireli Awards

Two recent graduates from the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (AUS) have been awarded the grand prize in architecture for this year’s Inspireli Awards, the world’s largest global competition in architecture, urban design and landscape, and interior design.

Mariam Jacob and Nada Khalaf were among seven architecture students from CAAD to have been shortlisted for the award and were selected by a jury of 500 architects from 99 countries. Their achievement will be celebrated in a virtual ceremony on November 4, 2020. The two winners worked under Associate Professor and AUS alumnus Faysal Tabbarah to create Thin Topograhies: Enhancing Food Production in Marakkech.

Their project aims to reinterpret food waste and uncover the potential of discarded organic material by repurposing it for consumption, redefining it for material construction, and encouraging a sustainable lifestyle within Marrakesh, Morocco. The project was part of the student’s final semester of work at AUS, produced amidst the challenges of the sudden transition to remote learning earlier in 2020. Khalaf said the Inspireli award has allowed her to appreciate the work in a new way.

“From day one, CAAD has pushed me to not only meet the standards placed in front of me, but also to consistently strive to exceed my own expectations. Professionally, this award will allow us to connect with the world at a much larger scale, and hopefully act as a stepping stone to new opportunities,” said Khalaf. “Being part of Inspireli has expanded the reach of young graduates and students like myself through their large network and media reach. Being selected as the winner in the Architecture category makes this opportunity even more surreal,” said Jacob.

Since her recent graduation, Khalaf has been working as a junior architect at iMaker Group, a Dubai-based architecture and interior design firm, while Jacob is currently participating in Architecture for Humanity, an inspirational placement program coordinated by the Italian-based Young Architects Academy. The program has connected Jacob with some of the leading names in design and broadened her understanding of designing socially relevant architecture in an emergency context.

The two other shortlisted projects from CAAD feature architectural designs for sites in Sharjah and New York, highlighting the students’ ability to design for diverse environments and contexts, and addressing issues such as population transience, environmental sustainability and building self-sustaining communities. The shortlisted students included Farah Ahmed, Mary Krajekian, Aya Rahmy, Alina Sebastian and Rim Sibai under the mentorship of Associate Professor Jason Carlow and Professor of Practice Igor Peraza. Source and images Courtesy of AUS.

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