UTM Architecture Student Top Winner of Just Jerusalem Global Competition

Skudai, 23rd March: Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s (UTM) architecture student has been declared top prize winner in the Just Jerusalem Competition, an international competition organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

The result was announced at MIT on March 21st and released simultaneously on the competition official website. Just Jerusalem was an open global competition attempted at seeking ideas and proposals that addressed different aspects of urban life in a futurist Jerusalem. The news was announced by the Vice Chancellor, Tan Sri Datuk Ir. Dr. Mohd Zulkifli bin Tan Sri Mohd Ghazali, in his officially address during the 40th Convocation held at UTM Skudai campus today.

Initially a total of 1,150 people from 85 countries registered for the competition. Eventually only 125 eligible proposals were accepted by the organizer which later undergone review by world-class panel of jury convened at MIT. Among the nine-member jury were Suha Ozkan and Herman Hertzberger, both a well-known scholars and architects.

Chan Wai Lai, a senior architecture student decided to take up the competition as her final year Design Thesis project at beginning of the academic session. She hoped and aspired to see Jerusalem as city of peace through the idea of sharing. In her project abstract, she elaborated,

“Without raising awareness of the need for sharing, energies devoted to constructing iconic architecture or designing beautiful buildings do not make sense. To achieve new and true peace, we must solve the problems of man, not of buildings, facilities or land division -- because all these problems come from man alone.”

As an expression of hope for future Jerusalem she adopted “Children’s Village for Jerusalem" as the title for her competition entry. It is in the children that she hoped the future community of peace would be nurtured and raised out of a built environment that she have designed, and hopefully in the end the proposed dwelling environment would help to address social equality and harmony among citizenry of Jerusalem.

As top winner she will be given the opportunity to spend up to an academic semester in residence at MIT as Jerusalem Visionary Fellow, with all expenses paid, including travel, housing, and stipend. It is estimated that a total amount USD50,000 been allocated for her appointment as visionary fellow.

As visionary fellow she will engage in interdisciplinary discussion about the implementation of the ideas. Throughout her stay at MIT, she will be participating in university seminars and workshops with faculty and invited dignitaries to work towards the implementation of their design ideas.

The Design Thesis is a two-semester long final year design project, a core course in architecture degree programme. Like other students of her peer, Ms. Chan Wai Lai is expected to submit the project to Department of Architecture at end of this semester as part fulfillment of the degree requirements.

She undertook the competition design project under the tutelage of a supervisory panel consisting of Abdul Halim Hussien, Ar. Marzuki Mahadi, and headed by Professor Dr. Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi.

Head of Architecture Department, Assoc. Prof. Dr Syed Ahmad Iskandar Syed Ariffin highlighted that for the past few years UTM have witnessed architecture students winning handful number of national and international awards.

The awards are in many ways a form of recognition of architecture degree programme at UTM and to the highly dedicated and caliber academic staff and students. The community of staff and students at Department of Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment is proud to be able to once again raise national and UTM flags at international stage.


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