Naseej announced today the winner of its innovative design competition for an affordable, high-quality and environmentally-friendly home that meets the aspirations and budgets of middle-income Bahraini nationals. The competition, which was open to registered architectural firms based in Bahrain, attracted a high number of entries, with the final selection being shortlisted to four firms. The winner is RMJM, an award-winning international architectural practice, with a GCC regional presence in Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar.
At a special award ceremony held at the newly-opened head office of Naseej at Bahrain Financial Harbour, the winner was announced by the judging panel consisting of: Mr Christopher Sims, CEO of Naseej; Mr Paul Bonner, Director of Davis Langdon, an AECOM company; and Mr Jawad Al Jabal, Vice President of the Bahrain Society of Engineers. As the winner of the competition, RMJM will be the nominated architects for a design-build contract for Naseej’s first affordable housing project in Bahrain. The firm also received an honorarium to cover their expenses.
The housing design criteria and specifications for the competition were based on comprehensive research undertaken by Naseej. This includes extensive and recently-conducted focus groups composed of a cross section of middle-income Bahraini households, designed to determine their preferences for the size and style of a family home, its location and environment, and supporting community facilities.
According to the judges, the high quality and different design approaches of the entries, made selecting the winners a very challenging exercise. In the end, it was considered that the submission from RMJM best captured and articulated the competition’s design and specification criteria to a very high standard. “It is a simple yet elegant community-based design, which reflects a modern take on traditional Bahraini architecture. The design is suitable for construction using a number of flexible methodologies, is sensitive to the demands of the Bahraini market, and specifically designed to accommodate the growth of the resident Bahraini family,” the judges announced.
Receiving the prize, Mr Graeme McKinnell, Associate at RMJM Bahrain, said:
“We are delighted to have won this hugely important competition, which coincides with the opening of our new studio in Bahrain. It is a real opportunity to deliver affordable housing of the highest quality to the people of Bahrain. Our design combines traditional values with a contemporary use of space, and the latest in building technology. We have designed each ‘Evolution’ home to be able to grow with a family, and to provide a solid foundation for future generations.”
Acknowledging the success of the competition, Mr Christopher Sims, CEO of Naseej, said:
“On behalf of my fellow judges, I would like to thank everyone who entered this competition, and congratulate RMJM for their outstanding design. Key elements of the winning entry will be incorporated into the final design for the first affordable homes to be built by Naseej in Bahrain later this year. The success of this competition reinforces the demand-led and research-oriented approach adopted by Naseej to developing value-based real estate projects. This differentiation is underlined by our core values of innovation and excellence, and our commitment to community growth and sustainable development.
“In recent years, regional real estate developers and investors have concentrated on high-end, mixed-use developments aimed at the global transient market. As a result, the housing needs of middle-income nationals have been overlooked and remain largely underserved. It was to address this very need that Naseej was established by prominent private and public sector institutions to act as a pioneering catalyst for meeting the affordable housing development requirements of Bahrain and the MENA region,” added Mr Sims.