The 2024 Jamal Abed Design Week and Award Ceremony

Theme: VIBRANT VERTICAL LIVING – Venus Towers Resurgence

From March 1st to 9th, 2024, the Jamal Abed Faculty of Architecture at Azm University hosted its annual workshop and competition, the Jamal Abed Design Week and Awards. This event, graciously supported and sponsored by the ‘Friends of Jamal Abed’, honored the legacy of our late Faculty Dean and engaged 56 architecture design students from first to fifth year. Each participant immersed themselves in this unique educational and experimental workshop, emphasizing the importance of design thinking, teamwork, and innovation in architectural education.

This year’s challenge, themed “VIBRANT VERTICAL LIVING – Venus Towers Resurgence,” tasked students with the adaptive reconfiguration and evolution of the Venus Towers, a prominent high-rise residential complex in Beirut Central District (BCD). Originally envisioned by renowned architect Rafael Moneo and currently overseen by Nabil Gholam, this project underwent a pause in its development cycle, presenting students with an exceptional opportunity to reimagine its potential within the contemporary socio-economic setup.

For five consecutive days, our faculty members were actively engaged in interactive design reviews with the students in the design studio. The team of instructors included: Mohamad Nasri, Hana Othman, Hala Abi Haydar, Elie Khoury, Sandy Sabsaby, Mohamad Negro, and Mustafa Nachar.

Field Trip and Launching Event

The Jamal Abed Design Week commenced on Friday, March 1st, 2023, with a field trip to the Venus Towers project site in BCD, where architect May Sadek from Benchmark provided insights into the project’s history and contextual parameters. Subsequently, a productive brainstorming session between design instructors and architecture students ensued back on campus.

Interim Presentations and Guest Lectures

On Tuesday, March 5th, students presented preliminary ideas and research outcomes during a pinup session. On Thursday, March 7th, Mr. Nabil Gholam, a renowned architect and head of NGA, delivered an online presentation on his Venus Towers scheme, engaging with students’ inquiries in a supportive manner.

Jury Evaluation and Award Ceremony

The closing event on Saturday, March 9th, saw the culmination of the Jamal Abed Design Week with a jury evaluation of student works, followed by a closing session and lunch. Eleven student teams presented their projects to a panel of esteemed architects and educators, including Abdulhalim Jabr, Bassim Halaby, Elie Khoury, Hala Abi Haydar, Hana Othman, May Sadek, Mohamad Nasri, Randa Jamali, Sandy Sabsabi, and Tarek Kazzaz.

Dean Nasri commenced the closing session with a moment of silence in honor of Late Dean Abed, followed by remarks from Mr. Bassim Halaby, CEO of Benchmark Development, Beirut, representing the Friends of Jamal Abed. Trophies were then awarded to the Friends of Jamal Abed, followed by the distribution of certificates to all participating students.

The highlight of the event was the announcement of the top three winning teams and the presentation of cash rewards totaling $2,250.

The festivities concluded with a communal lunch in the ground floor lobby, bringing together JAFA students, instructors, and esteemed jury members in celebration of another successful Jamal Abed Design Week.