During 2012, CSBE completed work on the Instituting Water Demand Management in Jordan (IDARA) project. CSBE also completed the fifth cycle of the Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Excellence in Architectural Design. In addition, CSBE held three courses and continued organizing the Diwan al-Mimar architectural forum. It also launched its new website, which allows for easier upload of materials and easier navigation.
New initiatives included a new addition to the CSBE website: "Moustadam," a monthly series of essays by architect Nourhan Al Kurdi that deals with issues of sustainability in Jordan and the Middle East. CSBE also produced a series of new films addressing the subjects of innovation, architectural education, and water-conserving landscapes. CSBE in addition has been asked to help establish the Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture, an international award founded by the Saudi Arabian Al Fozan Group.
Finally, CSBE's 2012 budget shows a surplus of 3,860 JD.
Instituting Water Demand Management in Jordan (IDARA)
CSBE completed in 2012 the last components of its participation in IDARA, the four-year United States Agency for International Development (USAID) project that was carried out in association with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation to implement a program on water demand management in Jordan.
Activities for the project included completing and publishing the Landscape Water Use Efficiency Guide in print and digital form, and in both Arabic and English. The guide is one of a series of Best Management Practices (BMP) guides that IDARA published about water conservation. They include guides for hotels, office buildings, and hospitals, as well as a Utilities Strategic Communications Guide. CSBE placed all these BMP guides on its website to make them easily available for the general public.
CSBE also produced three short films on water-conserving landscapes. The films, which are in Arabic with English subtitles, are "Principles of Water-Conserving Landscapes," "Maintaining Water-Conserving Landscapes," and "Conducting a Water Audit." They are all available online, and may be accessed through the CSBE website (See below, under "CSBE Films").
In addition, CSBE published the report Perceptions of Public Parks in Jordan: Survey Summary, which summarizes the results of a survey that CSBE conducted in 2008 to explore the public's expectations of public parks in terms of functional requirements, recreational needs, and aesthetic appeal.
Another publication that CSBE produced under the IDARA project is Affordable Housing for the Future Competition, a reference guide that summarizes and assesses each of the thirteen submitted designs for the "Affordable Housing for the Future Competition," which was announced in January 2010 for the design of a model water- and energy-efficient low-income apartment building in the Abu Alanda suburb of Amman. The competition addressed the apartment building-type since it represents the majority of new available housing typologies in Amman.
The Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Excellence in Architectural Design
In 2008, CSBE initiated an award for Jordanian architectural graduation projects in conjunction with the regional architectural and engineering firm Omrania and Associates. For the fifth 2012 cycle of the Award, over 140 projects from 34 universities from 11 Arab countries were submitted. An independent three-member jury assessed the projects and selected the winning entries, which were announced at the Award ceremony and exhibition held at the American University of Sharjah in December 2012. The Aga Khan Award for Architecture kindly supported the participation of one of the Award's jury members. The jury selected five winning projects and four honorable mentions. The winning projects were from the American University of Beirut, the American University of Cairo, and the American University of Sharjah. The honorable mentions where from the American University of Beirut, the American University of Sharjah, the International University of Science and Technology (Syria), and the University of Jordan.
A 35-minute film on architectural education was produced in conjunction with the fifth cycle of the Award that was screened at the Award ceremony (see below, under "CSBE Films"). CSBE also organized a public lecture by one of the jury members, Farrokh Derakhshani, the Director of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, during his presence in Amman. The lecture was entitled "The Aga Khan Award for Architecture: New Challenges and Directions."
Moreover, a new website for the Award was developed and launched in 2012. The website faced a number of technical difficulties. As a result, a new version of it is being developed, and it will be made available to the public in the spring of 2013.
Courses and workshops
CSBE organized three courses and workshops during 2013. The first was on proposal writing for architects and engineers, and was taught by Natheer Abu Obeid, who was then the Dean of the College of Architecture and Design at the Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST), and is currently Vice-President of the German Jordanian University. The course was organized in partnership with the Jordanian Architecture / Engineering (A/E) Business Council, a non-profit membership association whose members consists of a number of Jordan's leading architectural and engineering firms.
CSBE also organized the workshop "Think. Create. Make." This workshop looked into the idea of creativity as an everyday process that we can employ in our various activities. It explored a number of approaches that have been successfully used to encourage people to adopt new ways of developing solutions, solving problems, and coming up with innovative products.
The workshop was taught by Laith Al-Qasem, the Chairman of Arabian Business Consultants for Development (ABCD), and the Chairman of RUBICON (Jordan Training Technology Group). He also was the Chief of Party of the USAID funded Jordan Economic Development Program. Additionally, Mr. Al-Qasem is a board member of several NGOs, and is currently the Chairman of the Center for the Study of the Built Environment (CSBE).
The course was carried out in association with ABCD and Darat al-Funun, the Khalid Shoman Foundation. Also, a diary was written for the course and placed on the CSBE website.
The third course that CSBE organized is "Introduction to Landscape Architecture: Concepts and Applications." It was taught by landscape architect and CSBE Associate Director Lara Zureikat. The course also was organized in association with the A/E Business Council.
The CSBE architectural forum, Diwan al-Mimar, is a discussion group that aims at exploring the issues and challenges affecting the built environment in Jordan, the Arab world, and beyond in an in-depth and constructive manner. The Diwan addresses topics including architecture, urban planning, construction technologies, landscape architecture, and conservation of heritage sites. As a discussion forum, the Diwan aims at exploring and developing issues, rather than presenting finished products.
CSBE continued in 2012 the 2011 - 2012 Diwan season, which is devoted to the topic of urban management in Jordan. The Diwan invited one speaker at the end of 2011: Omar Maani, the former mayor of the Greater Amman Municipality. During 2012, the Diwan invited three speakers: Walid Al Masri, the former mayor of the Greater Irbid Municipality; Mohammad Balqar, the former Commissioner for Land, Infrastructure, and Services at the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA); and Omar Razzaz, the former director of the Social Security Corporation. The Diwan held additional sessions to assess and summarize the contents of the four previous sessions. In addition, the Diwan held a screening of the documentary film "urbanized," which deals with contemporary urban developments affecting cities around the world.
This season of the Diwan will continue during 2013. For 2013, a public survey about urban management will be developed as well as a summary paper about the four sessions with the guest speakers. The results of the survey, the summary paper, as well as the reports on each of the sessions with guest speakers will be made available to the public through the CSBE website. One public event (or more) also will be organized to present the findings of this season of the Diwan to the general public.
Support for this season of the Diwan has been provided by National Paints, the Arab Technical Group (ATG) - Daiken, and the members of the Diwan. The Diwan sessions have been hosted at Yaghmour Architects and at Darat al-Funun, the Khalid Shoman Foundation.
CSBE Facebook page
CSBE initiated in 2011 a Facebook page that aims at documenting and disseminating CSBE's activities and publications, but also aims at bringing attention to information available online that addresses the built environment, with an emphasis on issues relating to public transportation, pedestrian access, and energy efficiency. The CSBE Facebook page aims at strengthening CSBE's online presence. The Facebook page evolved considerably during 2012, with regular postings about CSBE's publications and activities, as well as postings with links to articles, videos, and events of interest to those concerned with the built environment. In addition, CSBE carried out an architectural photography competition through the page.
The number of "Likes" for the CSBE Facebook page exceeded 1,000 people in 2012.
Incubation and internship initiative
CSBE incubated in 2011 and 2012 architect Rawan Qubrosi, who has been working on developing innovative low cost shelters that may be easily assembled and disassembled. CSBE supported Rawan through providing her with technical support and also connecting her with various individuals and institutions who may help her realize her project. CSBE also featured Rawan in its film on Jordanian innovators (see "CSBE Films" below). Rawan is currently pursuing a master's degree in architecture at the Architectural Association in the United Kingdom.
CSBE also offered internships to a number of students. These included Mohammad Naji from the University of Jordan and Aseel Tubeishat form the Jordan University of Science and Technology. CSBE also hosted six exchange students from the United States who were studying at the University of Jordan or affiliated with AMIDEAST / Jordan. They are Rebecca Allen, Adam Benson, Mark Willman Harris, Matthew Liston, Leila Malow, and Tyler McDonough. The interns worked on a variety of activities in which CSBE has been engaged.
New CSBE website
CSBE launched a new version of its website in 2012. The website allows for easier uploading of information by CSBE staff, and for easier navigation by visitors to the site. Almost all of the information available on the old CSBE website was moved to the new website. The site features two new sections. The first is "Moustadam," a regular series of essays by architect Nourhan Al Kurdi that deals with issues of sustainability in Jordan and the Middle East, and aims at explaining practical approaches that may lead towards greener, more sustainable modes of living. The second is "CSBE Films," which is addressed in more detail below.
CSBE produced its first film in 2011, which was a documentary on the Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Excellence in Architectural Design. CSBE became actively engaged in producing films in 2012, and produced a total of five films. In addition to the three short films on water-conserving landscapes mentioned above, CSBE produced two documentaries, each of which is about half an hour in length. The first is "Innovation. Design. Fabrication: Three Stories on Jordanian Innovators." The film features Ammar Sajdi, an electrical engineer who developed an elevator control system that is now used throughout Jordan; Rawan Qubrosi, an architect whose vision that architecture should be accessible has led her to design and create multifunctional temporary structures that may be easily assembled and disassembled; and Laith Al-Qasem and Fawaz Al-Zoubi, the creators of Jordan's first automobile, Badiya.
The second film is "Architectural Memories: The Student Years. This film is part of the film series that CSBE is producing in conjunction with the Omrania | CSBE Student Award. This film includes interviews with a number of architects about their student experiences that have had a strong impact on them as architects today.
The first film is in Arabic with English subtitles, and the second is in both Arabic and English, with subtitles in the other language. All CSBE films are available online and may be accessed through the CSBE Films page.
Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture
Al Fozan Group, one of Saudi Arabia's larger holding companies, and which includes a consortium of establishments that are involved in manufacturing, trade, and financial services, founded in 2012 an international architectural Award for mosque architecture and approached CSBE to work on establishing the Award and on the various tasks involved in administering its first cycle. The Award was officially and publicly announced in October 2012, and nominations for it were accepted between October and December of 2012. Its website and Facebook page also have been launched. The Award jury will meet in January 2013 to select the winning mosque designs. The first cycle of the Award addresses mosques built in Saudi Arabia between 1970 and 2012. Upcoming cycles will address mosques built anywhere in the world.
CSBE hired two new staff members in 2012 as Research and Coordination Officers. They are Farah Tell and Eman Abukheit. Farah studied landscape design and ecosystem management as well agricultural engineering at the American University of Beirut, graduating in 2012. Eman studied interior architecture at the German Jordanian University, graduating in 2011. Both have been appointed as Research and Coordination Officers at CSBE. Also, Heba Alnajada had served as a Design and Planning Officer at CSBE between March and September of 2012.
In addition, Design and Planning Officer Joud Khasawneh resigned from CSBE in early 2012 to devote time to working on her PhD degree at the Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven, Belgium.
In addition, Farouk Yaghmour, the principal of Yaghmour Architects and a member of the CSBE general assembly, joined CSBE's five-person board of directors in 2012.
CSBE’s main source of income for 2012 included work on the IDARA project and the Abdullatif Al Fozan Award, as well as fees collected from the courses it organized and dividends from its stock portfolio. CSBE continues to function on a limited budget. Its operating expenses for 2012 amounted to 68,720 JD, while revenues amounted to about 72,580 JD. This provided CSBE with a surplus of 3,860 JD (note: 1 JD = 1.41 USD).
Obeidat and Freihat Attorneys & Counselors at Law continued to provide legal counseling to CSBE on a pro bono basis. Also, Mohammad al-Asad continued to give a good amount of his time to CSBE on an unpaid basis. CSBE is grateful for their support.
Finally, a special thanks is due to the CSBE staff and members of the board of directors for all the efforts they made in ensuring that 2012 was a successful year for the Center.