"The 2019 Winner"


BACKGROUND The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was formed on 2 December, 1971 as a six-member independent state with the unification of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain and Ajman. In 1972, Ras Al Khaimah joined, marking the country’s seventh and final emirate. The country has a total area of 83,600 square kilometres and a population of 9.543 million (World Bank, 2018). Human occupation of the UAE can be traced back to the emergence of anatomically modern humans who arrived from Africa around 125,000 BCE, which was determined through findings at the Faya-1 site in Mleiha, Sharjah. Burial sites dating back to the Neolithic Age and the Bronze Age include the oldest known inland site at Jebel Buhais. Known as Magan to the Sumerians, the region experienced a prosperous Bronze Age trading culture during the Umm Al Nar period, which saw trade occur between the Indus Valley, Bahrain and Mesopotamia, as well as Persia, Bactria and the Levant. ​ Today, the UAE is a modern, oil exporting country with a highly diversified economy, with Dubai having developed into a global hub for tourism, retail and finance.


The third largest of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, Sharjah covers approximately 2,600 square kilometres. In addition to Sharjah City, which lies on the shores of the Gulf, the emirate has three regions that make up its scenic east coast: Dibba Al Hisn, Khor Fakkan and Kalba. The history of Sharjah dates back 5,000 years, when it first emerged as one of the wealthiest areas in the Gulf; however, in the 16th century, the city witnessed instability as the Portuguese conquered the area along the east coast to control the booming spice trade. The fort at Khor Fakkan, Kalba and Dibba were built under their command. Afterwards, the Dutch tried to dominate the emirate for the same reason. The 17th century was a turning point for the city as the British arrived in the region and started trading with the Qawasim, the forefathers of Sharjah’s present-day ruling family. The area of the Gulf and Red Sea were preferred by Europeans for linking principal routes of communication between the Mediterranean and India.  At the end of the 18th century, the relationship between the Qawasims and the British deteriorated as both blamed each other for attacks. In 1809, the initial land-based attacks by the British ceased and in 1820, the first of various peace treaties were signed assuring maritime peace, security and the protection of the British against any attack for 150 years. The country’s coast became known as Oman Trucial Coast and Sheikhdoms of Oman as reconciled countries. Until the formation of the UAE in 1971, these names were attached to their relevant regions. The developing years brought prosperity to Sharjah, as it flourished with the help of coastal trading and pearling. In 1932, Sharjah became the staging point for the Imperial Airways flights departing from England to India and vice versa. The city was the regional base for the British RAF until 1971, but the British presence in the city officially ended with the formation of the UAE. In 1972, oil was found in the Mubarak oilfield situated 80 kilometres offshore. The production of oil began two years later, while gas drilling started in 1990. The city keeps its heritage alive through the artwork and history displayed at several museums and exhibitions. In fact, a special devoted zone known as the Sharjah Heritage area is famous for its museums, which are among the best in the United Arab Emirates.
Since the 1990s, Sharjah has repeatedly stood out in the region’s cultural scene: in 1998, UNESCO named it the Cultural Capital of the Arab World; in 2014, Organisation of Islamic Countries named it the Capital of Islamic Culture for that year; in 2015, the Council of Arab Ministers of Tourism named it the Arab Tourism Capital for that year; and in 2016, UNESCO declared it the Capital of Arab Press, titling the city the ‘World Book Capital’.Reasons for Sharjah’s continuous recognition are clear: it is home to nearly a quarter of the UAE’s museums, as well as events such as Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah International Book Fair, Sharjah Light Festival, Fikra Graphic Design Biennial, Sharjah Calligraphy Biennial and the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, which attract visitors from all over the country and further afield. Sharjah is a land with architectural heritage and cultural wealth, and it is known for its various touristic sites, which include historical areas like Heart of Sharjah, and modern sites like Al Qasba and Al Majaz Waterfront. In 2015, Sharjah launched Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021, which aims to attract up to 10 million tourists by 2021 and expand tourism’s contribution to the emirate’s economy.
Competition Site In 2017 the Sharjah government had given Barjeel Foundation the right of use of a land in Sharjah for the sole purpose of constructing a museum for the Barjeel collection.  Area of the plot is: 6594.6 Meters Square

The Al Tarfa neighbourhood is one of the newly developed and planned districts in Sharjah located on the highway to Dubai and Ajman.

The land-use of Al Tarfa is mostly residential with service centres; the irregular quadrilateral plot is situated on the edge of the neighbourhood and is accessible through a network of roads.

There are nearby destinations to be considered for the visitor’s accessibility and scenarios like Al Thiqah Club for Handicapped, the City Center and Mall Al Zahia and Sharjah Book Authority. Sharjah International Airport and University City are also surrounding landmarks to be taken into consideration in the urban analysis of the site.

The architectural style and language, urban scale and building heights of Al Tarfa and the rest of the emirate of Sharjah can be viewed using Google Street View.

Barjeel Art Foundation is an independent, UAE-based initiative established to manage, preserve and exhibit an extensive collection of modern and contemporary Arab Art. The foundation’s guiding principle is to contribute to the intellectual development of the art scene in the Arab region by building a prominent, publicly accessible art collection in the UAE.

Part of this objective involves developing a public platform to foster critical dialogue around contemporary art practices with a focus on artists with Arab heritage internationally. The foundation strives to create an open-ended enquiry that responds to and conveys the nuances inherent to Arab histories beyond borders of culture and geography. By hosting in-house exhibitions, lending artwork to international forums, producing print and online publications, and fashioning interactive public programmes, the foundation strives to serve as an informative resource for contemporary art by Arab artists both locally and on the global stage.

In addition to building an informative database of artists, the foundation seeks to develop an educational programme that both understands and involves the local community. By establishing partnerships with arts and cultural institutions internationally, the foundation looks to create opportunities to encourage public awareness of the importance of art to the community.

​In 2018, Barjeel signed a contract with the Sharjah Museums Authority to open a long-term exhibition at the Sharjah Art Museum, which features a selection of key modernist paintings, sculptures and mixed media artworks from the Barjeel Art Foundation collection.

"The idea of establishing a building to house the Barjeel collection is something I have been considering for the past decade. I started collecting art in 2002 with the intention of making the works available to the public in one way or another. " Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi - Founder of Barjeel

The Challenges  Culture, architecture and climate
The urban identity of Sharjah was shaped throughout various layers of cultural and historical phases influenced by the harsh desert climate and natural environment. The early period of modernisation appeared with the British presence in the emirates in the 1930s and continued through the formation of the UAE in 1971. This period has left a number of lasting impressions on the city, which witnessed the erection of many major modern structures, including the first masterplan in 1968. The 1970s and early 1980s witnessed an urban and architectural boom where many modern buildings appeared.  Since the 1990s, the city has made a decision to adopt a more Islamic inspired architectural identity.
Despite having a multi-layered urban and architectural identity, Sharjah’s recent development has been in favour of an particular style . In the past few years, a number of modern heritage structures were taken down and replaced with commercial glass towers, wiping out memories of places that generations grew up with.
After four decades of rapid urbanisation, cities in the UAE are in danger of losing their social and cultural identities. The UAE federation was created in 1971 to unite the country as a political and economic structure, but the country’s territorial and urban structures are yet to be realised. The disparity between urbanised areas as isolated mega theme parks and the country’s rich cultural resources misrepresent the UAE.

Participants are asked to design an architectural and cultural landmark that hosts the Barjeel collection and represents modern art, architecture and design in the Arab world.  

The design is required to contextualise Sharjah’s history and cultural identity in a contemporary manner. 

​As a contemporary museum it is important that the project does not become a historic  pastiche but is relevant to contemporary architectural discourse whilst being informed by local cultural heritage and environmental conditions.

The following spaces are for guidance and the designers may add other spaces they find necessary:
  • Reception
  • Museum shop
  • Exhibition spaces (Permanent collection + rotating exhibitions)
  • Film screening rooms
  • Multipurpose rooms for workshops, lectures and seminars
  • A rooftop/open air facility for talks and seminars
  • Storage facility for over a 1,000 works with space for tables for artwork handling and conservation facilities
  • Library and archive
  • Meeting and seminar rooms
  • Cafeteria for visitors
  • Offices for staff
  • Pantry for staff
  • Washrooms (for staff and for visitors) + lockers facilities
  • Parking
Some things to think about:
  • A dynamic visitor experience
  • Storytelling experience, especially for the permanent collection
  • Labeling
  • Barriers for sculptural works
  • Museum Branding
  • Accessibility, circulation and wayfinding
  • Natural light in some galleries, but not others
  • Considerations for some ‘lingering’ areas – where visitors can stop to admire particular works.
  • Local architectural elements.
  • Landscape, open spaces and sustainability.
  • The harsh desert climate and natural environment.
  • Architectural treatment and screening of the neighbouring gas station.

While the site is located in a relatively neutral neighbourhood, we are hoping to see designs that may directly and metaphorically express all the layers of Sharjah’s holistic history and heritage taking into consideration the different styles, identity, local building components and visions that the emirate has lived through.

01/April/2019 – Announcement of the competition + Early registration

01/June/2019 – Start of the Standard registration

23/August/2019 – Last 7 days for registration

30/August/2019 – Closing date for Registration

01/September/2019 – Submissions deadline

November/2019 – Announcement of Results

December 2019  – Annual Tamayouz Excellence Award Ceremony
All Deadlines are 11:59 pm GMT (London)

Architects, students, engineers and designers are invited to participate in this prize. Participation can be on an individual or team basis (maximum of four team members). We encourage the participation of multidisciplinary teams.   Under no circumstances will jury panel members, organisers or any of their family members be allowed to participate in this competition.

Participants required to submit the following :
1- One – A0 board in JPEG format, Every team is encouraged to submit all the information they consider necessary to explain their proposal. Content may include but not limited to plans, sections, elevations, visualisations, diagrams, etc.  The resolution of the boards must be 300dpi with the unique registration number placed in the upper left corner of the board in 18 pt font.

NOTE: All files must be named after the unique registration number

Submit your entry by using the upload link in your registration confirmation email.

1 X A0 JPEG - 300 dpi
1 X Word DOC (250) Words

RELEVANCE  – A clear declaration of conditions that set the contextual parameters of the project through identification of local challenges, construction and living culture.

RESPONSE – Aspirational and original projects with programmatic response to existing environmental and social conditions and local challenges.

RESOLUTION – Spatial, material and technical justification.  Clarity of design process.

IMPACT – Clear definition of positive transformative social, spatial and environmental impact of the project.

VISION – Aesthetic, material and technical ambitions and treatment of the damaged facades.

1. This is an anonymous competition and the Unique Registration Number is the only means of identification.
2. The official language of the award is English.
3. The registration fee for this award is non-refundable.
4. Contacting the Jury is prohibited.
5. Tamayouz Award, as the award organiser, reserves the right to modify the award schedule if deemed necessary.
6. Entries will not be reviewed if any of the rules or submission requirements are not considered.
7. Participation assumes acceptance of the regulations.

Winner of 2017: Ania Otlik - Poland (Left), receives the Trophy of the Rifat Chadirji Prize from the chairman of the judging panel Dr Rasem Badran

Click on Any logo to see the media mention

Please send any questions to 
Q: Who can register?
A: Anyone is welcome to register- This an open international competition.

Q: How many people are allowed per team?
A: A maximum of four people are allowed per team.

Q: How many projects can be submitted per team?
A: One project per team. Teams who wish to submit multiple designs can register their team multiple times.

Q: How do I submit my work?
A: You can submit your work by emailing it to us on Tamayouz.award@gmail.com

Q: How do I register for the competition?
A: You can register by paying the registration fee, once the payment is confirmed it will automatically take you to information page where you enter your information.

Q: What forms of payment do you accept?
A: Online Payments; Paypal and Credit Cards, wire transfer (Europe and US) and if none of the before is suitable please get in touch with us on the email above.

Q: Can we submit printed boards?
A: No, all submissions must be in digital format as outlined in the competition brief.

Q: Is there a specific program requirement?
A:  No, participants have complete freedom of establishing their own program, site and conceptual agenda.

Q: What is the height requirement?
A:  There is no specific height requirement.

Q: Is it possible to do underground floors?
A:  Yes, There are no design restrictions.

Q: Should I design a temporary structure or permanent building?
A: Your design should be a prototype for a permanent structure.

Q: How many team members can be involved in my project?
A: Four members maximum.

Q: Can I share my project on social media before the announcement of the winners?
A:  Projects may NOT be shared before the announcement of the Winners.

Q: Can a name or a company logo be included on a board or DOC document?
A: Submission materials should NOT include any company logo or identification, boards with any identification on it will be disqualified without notification.

Q:  Should I use metric or imperial units if my I need to show dimensions?
​A:  Either metric or imperial units may be used.

Q: Is there a specific site for my project?
A:  There is no specific site suggested as long as it is in the City of Mosul.

Q: Is there a specific City?
A: Yes, the City of Mosul.

Q: Should I use Manual, freehand or digital presentation?
A:  There are no restrictions regarding presentations as long as the team is submitting a digital copy satisfying the requirements specified in the brief.