Open Call: The Dewan Award For Architecture returns and Invites Architects and Designers to Submit Their Ideas to Develop Basra Waterfront and Dakeer Island.

The Dewan Award For Architecture جائزة ديوان للعمارة

Open Call: The Dewan Award For Architecture returns and Invites Architects and Designers to Submit Their Ideas to Develop Basra Waterfront and Dakeer Island

The Dewan Award For Architecture returns and Invites Architects and Designers to Submit Their Ideas to Develop Basra Waterfront and Dakeer Island.

Dewan Architects + Engineers has been synonymous with the Middle East’s booming architectural design sector for four decades. The multi-award-winning firm boasts world-class talents, including architects, engineers, designers, planners, builders, makers, thinkers, and visionaries. Dewan raises the bar for design across the region and encourages and empowers young architects worldwide to respond to design challenges with the launch of the 2023 architecture competition in Basra.

Moreover, The Tamayouz Excellence Award champions and celebrates the best of global architecture and is an independent initiative with no political affiliations. It’s sponsored by internationally recognised cultural and academic institutions and dedicated to supporting transformational projects that support local communities and global challenges.

Developing Dakeer Island, Basra Waterfront

The Dewan Award for Architecture 2023 envisions the Development of Dakeer Island into a thriving urban destination with a vibrant recreational and commercial waterfront allowing the city to celebrate its maritime heritage and fishing industry. Basra is the economic capital of Iraq and the country’s primary seaport, an area spanning 20,000 square kilometres with an estimated population of 3.2 million people. The newly designed island will include urban links connecting Dakeer to mainland Basra and be an inclusive and accessible waterfront for locals and visitors.

Located on the Northeast side of Basra, the British forces established Dakeer Island as a shipyard for the flourishing naval trade and transportation activities in 1918. Also, It was an essential river port with direct connections to The Gulf, significant waterways, trade and fisheries. The British forces built the basin during WWI for their campaign to seize Baghdad from the Ottomans. Despite damage, it survived both Gulf wars and now lies in a state of disrepair and neglect. Low water levels have since impeded ships’ entry, resulting in its abandonment. Today, Dakeer is a waste dumping ground and home to wholesale and storage warehouses and illegal settlements.

The Dewan Award for Architecture 2023

Mohamed Al Assam, the founder and chairman of Dewan, has been involved with the Tamayouz Excellence Awards since its inception as both an avid supporter, a member of the advisory board and a jury member for various competitions. The Tamayouz Excellence Awards celebrate the best architecture worldwide and the achievements of individuals who have made significant contributions to humanity and society.

Participants in this year’s Dewan Award are encouraged to provide solutions to transform Dakeer Island into a useable, influential and cosmopolitan recreational waterfront that contributes to Basra’s residents’ well-being and quality of life. It should establish new urban standards for long-term developments that encourage growth, sociable responsibility and sustainability. Dewan strives to empower young architects worldwide and provide crucial guidance to excel in the industry. The young architects and designers also gain unrivalled knowledge in real project scenarios and experiences at Dewan Architects + Engineers.

Award Objectives

Architects, students, engineers, and designers can participate in the Dewan Award as individuals or as part of a multidisciplinary team. They will need to present an explicit declaration of conditions and parameters of the urban and cultural project by identifying local challenges, opportunities and culture. Judges will consider aspirational, transformative and original ideas that respond to Dakeer Island, the clarity of the design process and the overall plan’s long-term positive effects. The proposed design must include technical justification, accessibility, safety, security, durability, and environmental impact. Judges of the single-stage competition will identify the most appropriate proposal that best translates and satisfies the award’s objectives.

Tamayouz Excellence Awards

Ammar Al Assam, CEO of Dewan Architects, understands the importance of championing different backgrounds, cultures, visions and experiences. The coveted first prize is fully paid employment at Dewan Architects + Engineers in Dubai for six months or a $6,000 cash prize. The winner will also be invited to attend the international awards ceremony and talks, including flights, hotel and certification.

Furthermore, The second and third-prize winners will be invited to attend the awards ceremony with flights, hotel and certification included. Honourable mention awardees will be invited to the awards ceremony. Also, each of the top 20 entries will have their works published in various architectural publications, appear on the Dewan Architects + Engineers and Tamayouz Excellence Awards websites, on their associated social media platforms and appear in industry exhibitions. Dewan Architects + Engineers will include their designs in their annual book.

Moreover, The eponymous Dewan Award for Architecture is an annual open-ideas architectural competition. The exciting international award focuses on designs that respond to the local challenges in Iraq. Also, Submissions highlight the country’s trials and provide dialogue and an uncompromising open source of ideas tackling social issues.

How to Register


Competition Registration and Submission

  • April 2023, competition launch
  • 29 September 2023, registration deadline
  • 1 October 2023, submission deadline
  • October 2023, shortlist announcement
  • November 2023, winners are announced

Please note that all deadlines are 18.00 GMT.


  • Dewan invites architects, students, engineers and designers to participate in this competition.
  • Participation can be individual or team (maximum of six members per team).
  • Dewan encourages the participation of multidisciplinary teams.

Judging Panel

Highly commended judges from around the world will arbitrate the awards. Moreover, It is a single-stage competition to identify the most appropriate proposal that best satisfies the contest’s general and specific objectives.

  • Professor Wendy Pullan – Cambridge – Cambridge University
  • Professor Jala Makhzoumi – Beirut – UNIT 44
  • Dr Davide Ponzini – Milan – Politecnico di Milano
  • Dr Ahmadreza Hakiminejad – Coventry – Urbanist and Academic – Coventry University
  • Fuad AL Kindi – Muscat – President of Oman Society of Engineers.
  • Nadia Habash – Ramallah – Head Engineering Association in Palestine
  • Kathy Basheva – London – Studio Basheva
  • Dr Mohamed Al-Assam – Dubai – Founder of Dewan Architects and Engineers
  • Ahmed Al-Azzawi – Milton Keynes – Dewan Award coordinator of Tamayouz
  • Ahmed Al-Mallak – Founding Director – Tamayouz Excellence Award


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