During 2013, CSBE took part in organizing a number of the activities of the first cycle of the Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture, an international award founded by the Saudi Arabian Al Fozan Group. In addition, CSBE completed the sixth cycle of the Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Excellence in Architectural Design along with producing a documentary film entitled “Arab Women in Architecture” as part of the Award Activities. Moreover, CSBE published the report on the Diwan al-Mimar sessions and activities it had organized on urban management in Jordan.
CSBE also has extended its social media presence by establishing Twitter accounts for both the center itself and the Omrania | CSBE Student Award, as well as a CSBE LinkedIn page. It also established a Facebook page dedicated to the memory of the late architect, artist, and longtime friend of CSBE Ali Maher, who died prematurely on June 10, 2013. In addition, CSBE has documented through its website a number of activities / projects it has carried out since 2011. It also volunteered to organize the design section of the NewThink Festival that takes place on a yearly basis in Amman. Finally, it should be mentioned that CSBE is making concerted efforts to ensure that as many of its publications as possible are made available in both Arabic and English.
Finally, CSBE's 2013 budget shows a surplus of 26,910 JD.
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. Al Fozan Group approached CSBE to work with them on establishing the Award and on the various tasks involved in administering its first cycle. CSBE consequently closely worked with the Group on establishing the Award as well as announcing it and disseminating information relating to it to the public. It also worked on organizing the Award jury meeting for the first Award cycle, which took place in January 2013 in Dubai. Following that, CSBE worked on developing extensive documentation in both English and Arabic of the winning mosques as well as those nominated for the Award. The Award ceremony is scheduled to take place in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia in February 2014. The first cycle of the Award addresses mosques built in Saudi Arabia between 1970 and 2012, but future cycles are to expand beyond Saudi Arabia.
The Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Excellence in Architectural Design
CSBE completed in 2013 the sixth cycle of the Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Excellence in Architecture Design, which CSBE and the regional architectural and engineering firm Omrania and Associates had established in 2008. Students of architecture graduating from universities in Arab countries may submit their graduation projects for the Award. About 150 projects from 37 universities from 9 Arab countries were submitted for the sixth cycle of the Award. It is expected that the number of submitted projects would have been even larger had it not been for the difficult conditions of political instability that a few Arab countries have experienced during 2013. An independent three-member jury consisting of Egyptian architect Shahira Fahmy, Lebanese architect Bernard Khoury, and Turkish architect Murat Tabanlioglu met in late September 2013 to assess the projects and select the winning entries. The Award ceremony and exhibition is scheduled to take place at the German Jordanian University in Amman in January 2014. The jury selected five winning projects by students from the American University of Beirut, the American University of of Sharjah, and Birzeit University. The Aga Khan Award for Architecture kindly supported the participation of Murat Tabanlioglu in the Award's jury.
A one-hour film entitled “Arab Women in Architecture” was produced in conjunction with the sixth cycle of the Award, and the film will be screened at the Award ceremony (see below, under "CSBE Films"). CSBE also organized a public event in October in which each of the three jury members gave a presentation about his / her architectural work.
Moreover, the new website for the Award became fully functional in 2013. Among other things, students can now fully and directly submit their projects for the Award through the website. The website also features all the projects submitted for the Award’s fifth and sixth cycles. The projects submitted for earlier cycles are available on the Award Facebook page.
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.
CSBE continued in 2013 the Diwan sessions initiated in late 2011 on 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. Additional sessions were held to assess and summarize the contents of these four sessions.
In 2013, CSBE developed a public survey on urban management in Jordan in cooperation with the Diwan members that was based on the outcome of the meetings with the four speakers listed above. The survey was later distributed to the public, and 300 people participated in it. An extensive report that documents the four sessions with the guest speakers, the results of the survey, as well as an overview and conclusions of the whole exercise have been published on the CSBE website. The report is now available in Arabic, but an English version will also be made available to the public on the CSBE website in early 2014.
The design section of the NewThink Festival
CSBE carried out on a voluntary basis the organization of the design section of the second NewThink Festival, a two-day event that concentrates on culture, art, and creativity. The festival includes twelve sections, one of which is devoted to the subject of design. CSBE staff identified potential themes and speakers for the design section, and accordingly organized it to include sixteen presentations on subjects relating to architecture, landscaping, urbanism, graphics, digital art, furniture, and clothing.
CSBE produced its first film in 2011, which was a documentary about the Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Excellence in Architectural Design. Since then, CSBE has produced a total of seven documentary films ranging in length from a few minutes to one hour. The latest of these films is “Arab Women in Architects,” a one-hour documentary that features stories on the experiences, challenges, and achievements of seventeen Arab women architects from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia. Filming of the documentary took place in Amman and Beirut.
All CSBE films are available with subtitles and are therefore fully accessible to speakers of both Arabic and English. Also, all CSBE films are available online and may be accessed through the CSBE Films page.
New online CSBE publications
CSBE has continued to actively expand the content of its website during 2013. Additions to the CSBE website have included the Diwan al-Mimar report on urban management in Jordan; a comprehensive Prezi presentation on CSBE and its activities; “Exploring Public Space through Users’ Behavior,” another Prezi presentation that documents a study that CSBE had carried out in 2011 on three public spaces in Amman. In addition, CSBE continues to publish on its website the Moustadam articles by Nourhan Al Kurdi and the Urban Crossroads articles by Mohammad al-Asad. Moreover, CSBE has made available on its new website the Architectural News section it had put together from 2000 to 2005, and that used to be available on its old website. This section documented activities from 2000 to 2005 taking place in Jordan that relate to the built environment.
In addition, CSBE is making special efforts to make as many of its publications as possible available in both Arabic and English.
Social media presence
CSBE initiated in 2011 a Facebook page that aims at documenting and disseminating CSBE's activities and publications, and 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 in addition aims at strengthening CSBE's online presence. The Facebook page evolved considerably during 2013, with regular postings about CSBE's publications and activities, as well as postings with outside links to articles, videos, and events of interest to those concerned with the built environment.
CSBE also had established in 2011 another Facebook page for the Omrania | CSBE Student Award. This page aims at disseminating detailed information about the Award. The page also features all projects submitted to the Award before the 2012 cycle. Starting with the 2012 cycle, projects submitted to the Award are featured on its dedicated website. In 2013, CSBE also featured on that page information about the activities and accomplishments of past winners of the Award since its establishment in 2008.
In 2013, CSBE started the Remembering Ali Maher Facebook page to honor the memory of the remarkable Jordanian artist and architect Ali Maher, who died on June 10, 2013. The page includes testimonies by Ali’s friends and colleagues, photographs of Ali, as well a selection of his paintings.
CSBE also established Twitter accounts in late 2013 for both CSBE and the Omrania | CSBE Student Award, as well as a CSBE LinkedIn page, in order to communicate about CSBE’s activities to a wider audience.
The number of "Likes" for the CSBE Facebook page exceeded 2,100 at the end of 2013; the number of “Likes” for the Omrania | CSBE Student Award page exceeded 2,900; and the number of “Likes” for the Remembering Ali Maher page exceeded 600. The LinkedIn page has 48 followers from 12 countries.
CSBE hired Tooma Zaghloul in 2013 as a as a Research and Coordination Officer. Tooma studied architecture at the Hashemite University in Zarqa, Jordan, and had carried out an internship with CSBE during the summer of 2013. Also, Eman Abukheit, who joined CSBE as a Research and Coordination Officer in 2012, resigned in April 2013.
In addition,Two students from the United States carried out internships at CSBE during the spring and the summer periods. These are Josh Hengen, a student at from Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina in the United States, and Suzan Waldon from the American University in Washington, D.C.carried out an internship at CSBE during the summer period.
CSBE continues to function on a limited budget, particularly in comparison to its outputs. CSBE’s main source of income for 2013 included work on the Abdullatif Al Fozan Award. Its expenses for 2013 amounted to about 66,410 JD, while revenues amounted to about 93,320 JD. This provided CSBE with a surplus of 26,910 JD for 2013 (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 most 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 2013 was a successful year for the Center.