Amman- 24 August 2021

Despite the exceptional circumstances that the world has experienced during the past year, and the difficulties of distance learning, the students of the School of Architecture and Built Environment (SABE) at the German Jordanian University (GJU) were able to maintain their distinguished level by reaching the shortlist along with nine candidates in the Jordanian Engineers Association (JEA )Award for Graduation Projects 2020.

Nadeen Shiqem won first place for her project ‘Behind the Wall – A Juvenile Correctional Center, and Architect Shereen Amarin got an honorable mention for her project, The Story of a River. Both projects were supervised by Architect Tha’er Qub’a.

About her project, Architect Nadeen said, “This project aims to deliver a correctional facility that provides the right spaces and functions needed to rehabilitate troubled youth – a starting point for complete juvenile reform, by designing a new typology for such centers. During my site analysis research, a prominent historical feature seemed to be repeating itself. Historically, the site was a former streamline for Seil Amman, while today, it acts as a main streamline for the rainwater that floods the streets and Al Balad almost every winter. The need for a rainwater harvesting system became apparent and so the concept of “rehabilitation through rehabilitation” came into play.

‘Two problems entwine, forming something grander than their sum’ was a driving statement that shaped the conceptual analysis for this project. Passive architectural elements that define the typology of such centers were analyzed and turned into action.

The prison wall, often perceived as the physical barrier between the delinquents and the public was emphasized, doubled, inhabited, and turned into a green screen.

The roof was turned into a rainwater harvesting system, supported by water collectors that came to shape the structural foundation of the project, and finally, a public plaza was created outside the center to be used by the public during the summer, and as a rainwater harvesting pool, draining the streets from the flooding waters every winter. The wall, built on several systems including movable planting pods and louvers, became dynamic. With its ever-changing greenery, shadows, and language, it never depicts the same image twice. The green wall, planted by the juveniles, became the main production line of the center, hosting several educational facilities within. With its ever-changing image, what was once seen as the barrier became the communicator. A huge testament in the heart of Amman, erasing the social stigmatization placed on Juveniles, while constantly communicating to the public what is currently happening behind the wall”.

Qub’a said that the students of the SABE continue to exceed the expectations, developing projects of great level and earning awards at all levels locally, regionally, and internationally. He also praised the efforts of SABE's staff and academic members, in addition to students' excellence, hard work, and creative thinking.