By Orlando Crowcroft

Hundreds of architects, engineers and consultants packed out Dubai’s Park Hyatt last night for the third annual Middle East Architect awards.

Merkel Tabanlioglu won Architect of the Year
Merkel Tabanlioglu won Architect of the Year

Projects from Saudi Arabia to Libya scooped awards, with Dubai’s Burj Khalifa winning project of the year and local firm X Architects winning both Best Boutique Firm and Best Principal, jointly awarded to founders Ahmed Al Ali and Farid Esmaeil.

Accepting the award for SOM, associate director Eric Tomich said: “We’re delighted to have won this. The reason in part is that it recognises the work of a lot of people. It’s a special project and a fantastic achievement”

Turkish newcomers Tabanlioglu Architects won Best Cultural and Public Sector Award for its new Conference Centre in Libya, while the firm’s founders, Murat and Merkel Tabanlioglu, jointly won Architect of the Year.

Commenting on the win, Merkel Tabanlioglu said that she was delighted that the firm won two of the biggest awards of the night.


feel good, the Middle East is an important market and it’s very important for us to create a presence here,” she said.

Meanwhile, Aedas scooped Large Middle East Firm of the Year and RMJM won Engineer of the Year, while Young Architect of the Year went to GAJ’s Ignacio Gomez, who worked on his firm’s Red Sea Riviera project in Egypt, which also won Best Residential Project of the Year.

One of the biggest surprises of the night came in the Sustainable Project of the Year category, where a little known development in Sudan beat Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) to the top spot. The Salam Centre, by Italian architecture firm Tamassociati, was a favourite with judges for its innovative approach to sustainability at the most basic levels.

Another winner on the night was Dubai firm DXB Lab, which won Best Commercial Project of the Year for the Code Tower in Al Barsha, Dubai.

The third Middle East Architect Awards was sponsored by Schott Middle East, Mapei, HOK, Alumil Gulf and Philips.

Architect of the Year: Murat and Merkel Tabanlioglu

Young Architect of the Year: Ignacio Gomez, GAJ

Principal of the Year: Ahmed Al Ali & Farid Esmaeil, X-Architects.

Engineer of the Year: Craig Gibbons, Arup

Large Middle East Architecture Firm of the Year: Aedas

Boutique Architecture Firm of the Year: X Architects

Engineering Firm of the Year: RMJM

Project of the Year: Burj Khalifa

Sustainable Project of the Year: Salam Centre, Sudan, Tamassociati Architects

Public Sector, Institutional and Cultural Project of the Year: Tripoli Congress Centre, Tabanlioglu Architects

Commercial Project of the Year: Code Tower, DXB lab

Residential Project of the Year: Red Sea Riviera by GAJ

Hospitality Project of the Year: Yas Hotel, Asymptote

Judges 2010

Daniel Hajjar, vice president and regional manager at HOK Dubai.

Hisham Youssef, senior associate at Gensler

Yahya Jan, vice president and design director at NORR Group Consultants International

George Katodrytis, professor of architecture at the American University of Sharjah

Nathan Hones, general manager at Stride Treglown

Stephan Frantzen, executive director at P&T