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13 February 2012 Architecture set to spark an engaging dialogue about social interaction in the Capital of Arab Culture
Beginning on 16th February, the acclaimed jurists invited by Manama, the Capital of Arab Culture 2012 to assess the Bab al Bahrain competition entries will meet and review the various designs showcased at the custom-built pavilion in the heart of old Manama – the Bab al Bahrain 'Square.' Their decision will be announced on 16th February at 7pm in Bab al Bahrain to be followed by a roundtable discussion, open to the public. All entries will be on exhibition at the pavilion from 16th February.
Run from 15th November 2011 until 1st February 2012, this competition sparked much regional interest with similar initiatives embarked upon in Libya and Egypt as a result. Members of the jury are 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. The winner will receive a prize of US $15,000 while a People's Choice Award, based on public voting, will also be presented to a winning entry on 1st March. People are invited to vote on the submissions from 16th February to 1st March at the Bab al Bahrain Pavilion.
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: 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,
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.
Further information can be obtained at
Participation in the 43rd Fine Arts Exhibition Bahrain Map