It is indeed a blessing from Allah that our university got the First Prize in the City Changer Competition organized by the UN-HABITAT. I learned about this Competition when our Chairperson, Dr. Buthayna Eilouti had sent an email to the entire department about an upcoming competition and for potential use in any Courses we teach. It was about designing Public spaces for all in cities of Saudi Arabia and focused on final year students of Architecture, Environmental Design or Planning students all over the kingdom.
Since the Competition was focusing on City Redesign, it was an excellent opportunity for the students of Urban Design Studio and Landscape Architecture which I was taking last semester. So together with 5 teams in the Landscape Course and 6 teams in the Urban Design Studio, we started working on the Projects from the beginning of the semester.
The students put in their head and heart in producing designs which were innovative and new to the city with an intention of being functional by all ages and genders. They did intensive analysis and designs were well thought and presented. The students learned a lot in the entire design process and got a great opportunity to compete with their counterparts from different universities of the Kingdom. Since it was a competition, it had a strict deadline and format for submission. Students lived the entire journey of competing in a nationwide competition and got trained for participating in any other competition in their careers. It indeed imparted students with more self-confidence, exposure, and skills for a brighter prospect ahead.
In Landscape, the teams took to redesigning public parks in different parts of Riyadh. The teams dealt with a variety of projects like a Skateboard park, Waterfront extension project, Theme park, Mosque Landscape and Neighborhood parks.
In Urban Design Studio, the teams focused on designing Boulevards in the city with special emphasis on pedestrian and bike-friendly designs. The assortment of the projects here ranged from Heritage Boulevards to Public markets and from Commercial Boulevards to Downtown Renewal and Waterfront boulevards. The winning team was one of the teams from my Urban Design Studio course. Their names are as follows:
Lina Tariq Ismail Al-Hind
Alaa Nasser Mohammed Hamedallah
Hebatalla Hussein Abbas Mostafa
Rimah Jehad Da'as Jamos
Their design was centered on creating a Pedestrian Boulevard which is located in the core of Riyadh, the street called Al Thahira street. This street connected two important building and landmark in Riyadh: Al Musmak Palace and King Abdulaziz Historical Center of length about 1.8 km. The team wanted to create a public space where people can gather and at the same time connect them with their culture and know the historical landmarks that exist. They made sure they designed every inch of around 2 km stretch of Boulevard, taking the best of the architecture and design of the five parts of the Kingdom; the north, south, east, west and central Saudi Arabia. The design has been highly appreciated by the Jury and steps would be taken if the design can be actually implemented in Riyadh to create a pedestrian-friendly Heritage walk for the Riyadh public and visitors.
As their supervisor, I am exceptionally glad and honored to receive the First Prize in the Competition. It was indeed a mercy from Allah and then it was the help and support of our seniors and the hardworking students because of which we could achieve this position. The winning team was indeed very hard-working and had done an extensive research for their Project. As their instructor, I was always available to them and gave my suggestions whenever it was required to improve their design. I am extremely happy to be a part of PSU where everyone is so supportive and you get ample opportunities to grow as an instructor. A big Jazak Allah Khair and humble gratitude to all those who were involved in this journey of winning the Competition.
Supervisor of the Team
Ms. Arshi Parashar
B. Arch, M.Plan (Urban Development)
Department of Architecture & Interior Design Engineering
College of Engineering, Prince Sultan University (P S U)
Riyadh 11586, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Office: R 208, Building No. 2