By Oliver Ephgrave  www.designmena.com

The winners of the 2011 Middle East Architect Awards were revealed during a gala awards ceremony at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray in Dubai on Wednesday night.

Architecture giant Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) picked up two of the night’s top honours. The firm’s Rolex Tower in Dubai won Best Overall Project while consulting partner George Efstathiou won Architect of the Year.

The 235m Rolex Tower was praised by the jury as “an elegant addition to the Dubai skyline in a field of flamboyance”.

SOM repeated the success of last year, when it picked up the same award for Burj Khalifa.

Architect of the Year Efstathiou, who worked on Rolex Tower and Burj Khalifa, was lauded by the judges for his “prolific experience which represents a deep and thorough knowledge of the profession”.

Young Architect of the Year was scooped by Atkin’s Obada Adra who was said to be a great asset to his company with a portfolio that belies his age.

This year’s Large Architecture Firm award went to Woods Bagot while Boutique Firm of the Year was picked up by FXFOWLE.

Aside from Rolex Tower, the standout project of the night was Aino Mina in Afghanistan by Aedas, which was praised as “an indigenous and contemporary project which is set to make a positive impact on the lives of so many”.

Other firms that enjoyed a successful night included engineering titan Buro Happold and Henning Larsen Architects, which both won two awards apiece.

Benoy’s Ferrari World Abu Dhabi picked up the award for Hospitality & Leisure Project, while narrowly missing out on the top project prize which was claimed by Rolex Tower. More info

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