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17 February 2012 A winner is announced for Bahrain's BAB Open Ideas Competition
On 16th February, members of the specialist jury of BAB Open Ideas Competition, hosted by Manama, the Capital of Arab Culture 2012, chose the winning proposals for the transformation of Bab Al Bahrain. Lukas Lenherr, a Swiss national, was awarded the first prize for his concept entitled 'Pearl Dive.' The second prize was awarded to Pier Paolo Tamburelli and Guido Tesio for their concept entitled 'Two Rooms' while the third prize was awarded to the Dutch architectural firm, Partizan Publik for 'New Times Square'.
Attended by Foreign Minister, Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and the Governor of the Capital, Shaikh Hisham bin Abdelrahman in addition to Mohammed Benaïssa, former Foreign Minister and the founder of Asilah, Morocco, the public event in Manama's historic Bab Al Bahrain showcased all 83 submissions in the custom-built pavilion and was followed by a roundtable discussion of public space with the jury. Members of the jury were Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Bahrain's Minister of Culture, Joseph Grima – the Milan-based architect and editor in chief of Domus magazine, Bernard Khoury – internationally-acclaimed Lebanese architect, Ahmed Al Ali – reputed UAE architect and entrepreneur, Bjarne Mastenbroek - the founder and principal of SeARCH, an innovative architecture and urban design company, and Ma'amoun Almoayyed – Bahraini architect and founder of Architecture 360 Design Studio.
Members of the jury thanked HE Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Minister of Culture, for embarking on this programme and noted her passion for art and architecture in the Arab world. During the roundtable discussion members of the jury described their pleasure with the diversity of entries, overall quality and intellectual presentation of the winning entries.
The competition sparked wide international interest that spanned the different aspects of the profession with participation from architectural firms, individuals, urban planners and landscape architects. Of the 83 submissions received for the BAB Open Ideas Competition, 15 were from Bahrain in addition to substantial participations from other parts of the Arab world as well as Europe, the United States and South America.
Speaking on behalf of the jury, Bjarne Mastenbroek, explained, 'We were interested in this competition because it did not seek to perpetuate the expected and traditional models of public space, but instead allowed participants to re-consider what a civic space could be in a very specific political and historical context, triggering a debate on the role of public space in the contemporary city.'
In line with Manama, the Capital of Arab Culture 2012 programme objective of dialogue and cultural exchanges, Bernard Khoury, Ahmed Al Ali and Bjarne Mastenbroek will engage in the debate on public spaces on 17th February at the Bab al Bahrain pavilion while another key highlight will be the 'Exploring Social Interaction' workshop, scheduled to take place on 25th and 26th February at Bab al Bahrain. Registration for the workshop is possible via the following email: babcompetition@moc.gov.bh Designed to review urban dynamics – people's natural sense and formation of communities and how this is accommodated in design and town planning, the workshop will examine public spaces by experimenting with direct public interaction using Ecosistema Urbano's digital tool, WHATIF.es.
The month will close with Pritzker Award winning architect, Rem Koolhaas who will be in Manama on 28th in order to give a public talk on architecture in the Arabian Gulf region. One of the most influential voices in contemporary architecture, Koolhaas' talk, entitled 'Current Preoccupations' will shed light on the state of design and planning in light of regional events and changes.
Undertaken by the Arab League under the auspices of the UNESCO Cultural Capitals Programme, every year a different Arab capital is awarded the opportunity to engage in a cultural dialogue with local and regional audiences. Manama was elected as the Capital of Arab Culture in a meeting of Arab ministers of culture in 2004. The Bahrain Ministry of Culture has developed an innovative agenda for the year, which seeks to invite Arabs to discover the cultures, heritages and identities of different parts of the Arab world. The year-long programme for Manama, the Capital of Arab Culture 2012 is broken up into 12 different cultural themes according to the months of the year and is designed to foster an environment of multi-disciplinary learning with an appeal to all sectors of society.
Participation in the 43rd Fine Arts Exhibition Bahrain Map