Academy of Architecture congratulates Bengin Dawod Abdullah on winning AHK Graduation Prize

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On Monday 26 November the AHK Graduation Prize for the best graduation projects in 2018 were awarded. Academy of Architecture congratulates Bengin Dawod Abdullah on winning the AHK Graduation Prize (category Master).

The Graduation Prize of the Amsterdam University of the Arts consists of a sum of € 3,000 in the bachelor and master categories and an audience award. Three bachelor projects and five master projects from the year 2018, from different academies, were nominated. The jury judged all entries on three criteria: the quality of the work, the way in which the graduates have connected to the outside world and the relevance of their work to the development of the discipline.

Winning master project The Soul of the City
Bengin Dawod Abdullah graduated this year from the Master of Urbanism at the Academy of Architecture. In his project The Soul of the City, Bengin poses the question of which responsibility he must take to rebuild his homeland of Syria. This led to an investigation into the reconstruction of Aleppo, based on the conviction that the city must be rebuilt in a way that takes the residents into account. Bengin: 'Reconstruction is not a matter of stacking stones, but more is needed for the soul of a city.'

The jury praised the urge for innovation, urgency and complexity that speaks from the work. From the jury report: 'Bengin strikes us with an extremely topical and relevant subject for current and former war zones in an unsentimental way. The fact that he bases this on the strength of the people who have to live there and incorporates all levels of the city – in this case Aleppo – in his design, makes this project ambitious and simultaneously realistic and convincing. A project which you hope becomes a reality.

The festive presentation of the AHK Graduation Prize took place on 26 November in the Netherlands Film Academy. The jury consisted this year of chairman Xandra Schutte (editor-in-chief De Groene Amsterdammer), Dominique Vleeshouwers (co-founder & director Combined Creatives and winner of the Graduatioon Prize 2013), Aaltje van Zweden (founder and board member of the Papageno Foundation) and Edwin van Huis (director of Naturalis, also member of the AHK Supervisory Board).