Muscat: Specialists in the field of architectural engineering in the Sultanate of Oman have underscored the significance of Bilarab Bin Haitham Award for Architectural Design, which was officially announced on Saturday.
The award, they said, was the first of its kind in Oman and that it is distinguished in many ways: It is aligned with its intellectual message and it reflects human communication across the ages.
The award is an accolade acknowledging the merits of talented Omani youth. In its first round, it highlights the location of Al Mina Quarter of the Wilayat of Mattrah where a landmark was designed to incarnate the 50 years of Omani renaissance and the country’s quest to accomplish Oman Vision 2040.
Dr. Saleh Nassir Al Saadi, Associate Professor at the Sultan Qaboos University’s College of Engineering, said that Bilarab Bin Haitham Award for Architectural Design, unveiled at the outset of Oman Vision 2040, promotes a set of national priorities, including “promoting sustainable development of governorates and cities”, “grooming national capabilities in the fields of education, learning and research”, “venerating citizenship, identity, heritage and culture” and “underlining the importance of environment and natural resources”.
Al Saadi added that, besides developing the expertise of youth, the award serves as a means of familiarising local and international libraries about their engineering designs which reflect the diversity of Omani topography and climate and the related challenges to be addressed by the participants.
Meanwhile, Eng. Badr Nassir Al Haddabi, an architect, said that the award is an initiative aimed at asserting the role of Omani youth in developing the local communities as envisaged in Oman Vision 2040 and strategies related to tourism and economic strategies. The award serves as a platform for empowering Omani youth by giving them exposure to common local and international designs, Al Haddabi added, noting that it will eventually translate into small and medium enterprises.
On her turn, architectural engineer Huda Al Jahwari, said that the award reflects a civilized humanitarian aspect of Omani culture. “The award crystalises the accomplishments of the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said over the past 50 years of Omani renaissance, as well as the clear-cut vision of Renewed Renaissance espoused by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik,” Eng. Huda added.
"As architects, we are greatly delighted by the launch of Bilarab Bin Haitham Award for Architectural Design, which brings about a unique model of dealing with the very spirit of Omani architecture. It is a big incentive for Omani youth to delve into the domain with innovative designs that are equally comprehensive and universal", she explained.
Eng. Ali Jaafar Al Lawati, a researcher in the field of architecture, said that the launch of the award in the heart of Old Muttrah bears great significance due to the city’s historical role as a commercial hub throughout the ages, with its different ethnic groups co-existing peacefully for centuries.
Al Lawati affirmed that the award constitutes a platform for the exchange of ideas on Arab and contemporary architectural designs.
Bilarab Bin Haitham Award for Architectural Design offers an opportunity for 10 competitors to contest the final round, which will be officiated by an arbitration committee. The winner of first place will get OMR20,000; the second OMR15,000 and the third OMR10,000.