The Mosque of Medina, along with the Mosque of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the premises of the Social Security Institute in Kuwait City, Kuwait, and the Three Squares in Qasr Al Hukum, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, are the winners of the three sections of the Marble Architectural Awards 2004, selected by an international panel specially appointed by IMM and the Italian Trade Commission (ICE) gathered in Riyadh.

The prizes were unanimously awarded by an international panel, which included Luigi Danesi, President of Internazionale Marmi e Macchine as well as delegates from the Saudi academic and architectural community. Representatives included Khaled Al Shokr and Mohammed Al Rubeish from the Saudi Umran Society (the Saudi Architects Association), along with Mansour Al Jadeed and Mahmoud Idris on behalf of the Architectural Faculty of King Saud University. Also on the part of Italy were Amedeo Scarpa, director of the Riyadh branch of the Italian Trade Commission; Luigi De Matteis, an Italian architect who has been working in the Gulf area for many years; and Marcantonio Ragone, Manager of the Promotion Department at IMM.

“An extremely representative panel worked with quality in mind, but also paid attention to cultural significance, which is absolutely essential,” said Danesi. “The fact that the members of the jury have always been unanimous in their decisions proves that an assessment based on shared criteria leads to find the very best of what the entrants submit.”

The jury gave priority to high standards and quality in the use of stone, rather than the amount of stone used, Danesi explained, adding that a massive use of marble does not necessarily mean high stylistic standards.

The international scope of the award program, which was open to projects completed in North Africa and the Middle East, was confirmed by the large number of projects submitted from throughout the region, including entries from Kuwait, Oman, Dubai, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan and the Gaza Strip.

Many projects involved Italian marble, including several outstanding applications of White Carrara marble as well as materials from other Italian regions or different countries.

“It is the clearest sign that the stone industry is greatly developing all over the world,” said Al Shokr, “and that Italy is the main supplier to the whole area and in particular to Saudi Arabia. Through the award, we realized that there is the need to promote this product, but also that professional training and lifelong learning are essential for our designers as well as for the local companies, which can offer newer materials processed according to cutting-edge techniques by our partners. In particular, [we are seeing new developments from] the companies of the Apuan-Versilian area, with which we have always had a great rapport, and not just in terms of business.”

The award consists of three sections: External Facings, Interior Design and Urban Landscape. The winners of each section were invited to Carrara to take part in the awards ceremony on May 28 during the CarraraMarmotec Fair, which took place from May 26 to 29. On that occasion, as well as collecting their awards, the winners took part in a workshop, during which they illustrated their winning projects, including the methods used for the selection and application of stone.

First Prize (tie):
Section I (External Facings)

Mosque of Medina

Location: Medina, Saudi Arabia
Date of completion: 1993
Designer: Muhammad Kemal Ismail
Materials: Bianco Carrara, Bianco Thassos, Rosa Portogallo, Verde Aver, Bardiglio and Rojo Alicante marbles
Supplier: Henraux, Querceta, Italy
Stone consultant: MIMAR, Carrara, Italy

First Prize (tie)
Section I (External Facings)

Mosque of Mecca

Location: Mecca (Saudi Arabia)
Date of completion: 1993
Designer: Kemal Ismail
Materials: Bianco Piastrone, Bianco Carrara, Giallo Siena, Rosso Alicante, Bianco Statuario, Verde Aver and Azul Macauba marbles
Supplier: Henraux, Querceta, Italy
Stone consultant: MIMAR, Carrara, Italy

Special Mention
Section I (External Facings)


Location: Teheran, Iran
Date of completion: 2001
Designer: Ahmadi Behrooz
Materials: Klardash/Zahedan and Birjandgreen granite; White, Atashicooh and Zanjan travertines

Special Mention
Section I (External Facings)

United Arab Emirates Towers

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date of completion: 2000
Designer: Hazel W.S. Wong-Design Architect
Materials: Kinawa, Juparana Bahia, Cambran Black, Baltic Brown, Imperial White, Black Galaxy, Grigio Sardo, Tolga White and Moghul Grey granites; Calacatta Vagli Rosa marble; Santa Fiora sandstone; Charcoal Grey slate
Supplier: Henraux, Querceta

Special Mention
Section I

Al Sayed
Office Building

Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Date of completion: 2003
Designer: Alnaim Architects, Engineers & Urban Planners
Materials: Yamamah Rose and Yamamah Bianco granites

First Prize -- Section II
(Interior Design)

Public Institution
for Social Security

Location: Kuwait City, Kuwait
Date of completion: 2002
Designer: Salem Al-Marzouk & Sabah Abi Hanna WLL
Materials: Nomazardi, Cambrian Black, Carmen Red and Giallo Vicenza granites; Rosso Verona, Rojo Alicante, Breccia di Tairo, Botticino, Emperador Napoleon, Portoro, Crema Marfil, Nero Assoluto and Verde Alpi marbles; Red travertine; Indian Gold sandstone; Indian slate
Supplier: Savema, Pietrasanta, Italy

Special Mention -- Section II (Interior Design)

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Location: Muscate, Oman
Date of completion: 2000
Designer: Rana Vision-Arch. Edgard Bali
Materials: Bianco P and Bardiglio Imperiale marbles
Supplier: Bufalini Marmi

First Prize -- Section III
(Urban Landscape)

Three Squares
in Qasr Al Hukum

Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Date of completion: 1992
Designer: Arriyadh Development Authority
Materials: Rosa Beta, Rosa Porrino, Rakan, Nero Africa and Meba Classico granites

Special Mention

Jeddah Hilton

Location: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Date of completion: 2002
Designer: K.C.A., London, England
Materials: Botticino, Rosso Verona and Verde Alpi marbles; Grigio Sardo, Giallo Veneziano, Labrador, Nero Assoluto, Baltic Brown and Rosso Aquila granites
Supplier: NAMCO, Carrara, Italy