Mosques play a profound role in the lives of Muslim communities. Not only are they spaces for prayers, but they also are intended as places of peace, tranquility, and spirituality. Moreover, they are important urban elements around which the growth of Muslim settlements has taken place since the earliest days of Islam. They have served as centers of congregation for surrounding communities, and they have defined social space and have accommodated a variety of functions at both the city and neighborhood levels. In addition, any understanding of the evolution of the various great architectural traditions of the Islamic world would be incomplete without examining the evolution of their mosque architecture. The architecture of the mosque has been an essential component in defining these traditions, and very often provided a powerful embodiment of their creative energies.
We therefore are happy to announce the launch of the Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture, which is named in honor of Shaykh Abdullatif Al Fozan. The Award is conceived to become an international platform that raises awareness on the contemporary architecture of the mosque. It also aims at raising awareness on best practices for the design, construction, and upkeep of mosques. Moreover, the Award will establish a variety of activities that acknowledge, promote, and celebrate distinguished examples of mosque architecture.
The official patron of the Abdullatif Al Fozan Award is HRH Prince Muhammed bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The Award is overseen by an Executive Committee. The committee is chaired by Bassim Al Shihabi, co-founder and managing partner of the Saudi Arabian architecture, engineering, and planning firm Omrania & Associates. Its members consist of Mohammad al-Asad, the founding director of the Center for the Study of the Built Environment in Jordan; Abdullah Al Fozan, the Chairman of Al Fozan Group; Abdullah Alkadi, associate professor of urban planning at the University of Dammam in Saudi Arabia; Mohammad Galal, the Chief Executive Officer of the United Electronics Company (eXtra) in Saudi Arabia; Bassim Halaby, the co-founder and chairman of the real estate group Benchmark Development in Lebanon; and architect and educator Suha Ozkan from Turkey. Their biographies are available on the Award's website.
The initial 2013 cycle of the Award will address mosques built in Saudi Arabia since 1970. It therefore will shed light on the evolution of Saudi Arabia's mosque culture and architecture over the past four decades.
The Award will be given every three years. Although the first cycle is dedicated to mosques constructed in Saudi Arabia, future cycles of the Award will address built mosques throughout the world. Un-built mosque designs may also be considered for future cycles.
Any mosque completed in Saudi Arabia since 1970 is eligible for nomination for this cycle of the Award. Anyone may nominate a mosque for the Award, including its architect and / or client. The Nomination Form may be downloaded from the Award's website. Nominations will be accepted until December 20, 2012.
In order to provide the Award jury with suitably detailed information on nominated projects, the Award staff will contact the architects of the nominated mosques and ask them to fill out the Award's Architect Form. This form allows the Award to collect more comprehensive textual and visual information on nominated projects than what is provided through the Nomination Form. Architects and / or clients who wish to nominate their mosques may fill out the Architect Form directly and submit it to the Award. This form also may be downloaded from the Award's website.
The winning projects will be selected by an independent six-member jury consisting of world-renowned specialists in fields relating to architecture and culture. The jury members for this initial cycle of the Award are educator and critic Saleh Al Hathloul from Saudi Arabia; architect Sahel Al Hiyari from Jordan; architect and educator Ibrahim Al Naimi from Saudi Arabia; architect Charles Correa from India; educator and author Hassan Uddin Khan from Pakistan / the United States; and art historian Glenn Lowry from the United States. Their biographies are available on the Award's website.
The criteria for nominating and assessing projects will of course evolve and will be reexamined from one Award cycle to the other. For this initial cycle of the Award, the assessment of submitted projects will emphasize issues relating to their architectural composition as expressed through form, space, and surface articulation; the construction technologies they employ; the sense of spirituality that their architecture presents and how that architecture embraces the act of prayer; and the relation to the immediate surroundings.
The total prize money for this cycle of the Award will be 533,000 USD (2,000,000 SAR).
The winners for this cycle of the Award will be announced at a ceremony that will take place in Saudi Arabia in the spring of 2013. It will be accompanied by a seminar that addresses issues of relevance to mosque architecture in particular and to the built environment in general.
For additional inquiries, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, all developments regarding the Award will be posted on the Award website and on the Award Facebook page.
To ensure the impartiality of the Award procedures, projects undertaken by current members of the Award's Executive Committee and Jury cannot be considered for the Award.