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MZ Architects wins Best Future Building Award for the Rock Stadium at the 2012 LEAF Awards


One of the flagship projects of MZ ARCHITECTS - the Rock Stadium was crowned the much coveted ‘Best Future Building’ in the 9th edition of the Emirates Glass LEAF Awards.

Marwan Zgheib, founder and principal of MZ ARCHITECTS, received the award on September 21st at a formal Awards Ceremony held at London’s Four Seasons Hotel and attended by some of the world’s top architects.
The LEAF Awards, operated by the Leading European Architects Forum, is an annual international architectural prize. It recognizes and honours architects designing buildings that are setting the benchmark for the international architectural community of the next generation. Previous winners have included the likes of Zaha Hadid, David Chipperfield, SOM, Steven Holl and Terry Farrell. The ‘Best Future Building’ category of the LEAF Awards celebrates innovative thinking and approaches to design for building concepts or projects yet to be built.
The awards were open to all firms, technologies and individuals that had made an outstanding contribution to the world of architectural design and build. They recognized those that had not only had exceptional success, but also shown leadership within their respective fields. The 2012 shortlist included some of the world’s most iconic buildings and designs.
The judging panel chaired by Irving Brauer, principal of Brauer Associates, comprised a jury of distinguished, independent professionals looking for strategic excellence, marketplace impact and above all, innovation and practical developments that have challenged and changed the way buildings are evaluated nowadays. Members of the jury included: Phil Holden, Pascall+Watson architects; Lucy Bullivant, architectural curator, critic and author; Paolo Brescia, OBR Open Building Research; and Kasia Fiutowska, Sketch Design.
Designed by MZ ARCHITECTS, the Rock Stadium is set into the desert landscape, and sinks its 200,000sqm structure into the ground, turning the rocky mountain into one of its main features. It creatively works with the topography and relies on a series of emerging planes to mold the space and help cater for the 40,000 seats which it provides. The Rock Stadium maximizes the use of on-site material and its visionary design merges landscape and architecture, thus blurring the boundaries between the built and the natural and creating a space that allows the visitor to interact with the stadium activities as much as with the desert landscape itself.
This is the second international design award won by the Rock Stadium to date, demonstrating once again MZ ARCHITECTS’ status as a leading practice within the international architectural community.
The Rock Stadium had received earlier this year the Retail and Leisure Award at the 2012 MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards and is currently shortlisted for the following awards:
- 2012 World Architecture News Awards: shortlisted for “Civic Buildings Sector - Unbuilt”
- 2012 Cityscape Awards for Emerging Markets: shortlisted for “Leisure & Tourism Project Award - Future”
- 2012 World Architecture Festival: shortlisted for “Future projects: Competition entries”.
About MZ Architects
MZ Architects is an award winning architecture firm founded and lead by Marwan Zgheib since 2002, with offices in Lebanon, Qatar and Abu Dhabi. MZ Architects works mainly within the fields of architecture and urban planning, and provides services for the development of high rise, low rise, office, residential, stadiums, commercial and industrial buildings as well as master planning. MZ Architects is ranked number 6 in the Top 25 GCC Architecture Firms for 2011 by the Middle East Architect.
Recently, MZ Architects has received several international awards, mainly:
‐ 2012 Arabian Property Awards: “Best High Rise Architecture” for The Qatar Navigation Tower (Qatar)
‐ 2012 Arabian Property Awards: “Best Office Architecture” for The Golden West Bay (Qatar)
‐ 2012 MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards: “Retail and Leisure Award” for the Rock Stadium (Al Ain, UAE)
‐ 2012 Meed Quality Award: “Emirates Steel Building Project of the Year” for The Gate (Qatar)
‐ 2009 CNBC Arabian Property Award: “Best Architecture” for the Aldar Headquarters (Abu Dhabi)
‐ 2008 BEX Award (Valencia, Spain): “Best futuristic design” for the Aldar Headquarters (Abu Dhabi)
‐ 2008 CNBC Arabian Property Awards: “Best Development” and “Best High Rise Architecture” for The Gate (Qatar)
Two documentaries were produced by the National Geographic Channel and the Discovery Channel highlighting the complexities and challenges of building the Aldar Headquarters designed by MZ Architects:
- “MegaStructures: Skyscraper in the Round” on National Geographic Channel
- “Extreme Engineering: Al Raha Beach Development in Abu Dhabi” on Discovery Channel.
Winners of 2012 LEAF Awards categories
- Mixed–Use Building of the year award: Steven Holl Architects with Daeyang Gallery & House, South Korea
- Residential Building of the year award (single occupancy): Architectureburo Govaert & Vanhoutte with Villa Roces, Bruges, Belgium
- Residential Building of the year award (multiple occupancy): Rafiq Azam with S.A Residence, Dhaka, Bangladesh
*Special Awards went to Studio Daniel Libeskind, DCA Architects PTE Ltd, with Reflections at Keppel Bay, Singapore
- Commercial Building of the year award: WOW Architects with Vivanta Hotel, Bangalore, India
- International Interior Design award: Billard Leece Partnership & Bates Smart with HKS, with The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
- Refurbishment of the year award: Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects, with The Granary
*A special prize went to Masrah Al Qasba Theatre, Emirate of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, by Magma Architecture
- Young Architect of the year award: Marco Guarnieri, with White Grounds UK
- Public Building award: Musashino Art University Museum & Library Tokyo, Japan, and Stephen Marshall Architects, with Rothschild Archive, UK
- Best Sustainable Development: Arup Associates with The Druk White Lotus School, Shey, India
- Best Future Building 2012 (joint winners): Skidmore Owings + Merrill with Manhattan Loft Gardens, London, UK, and MZ Architects for The Rock Stadium, Al Ain, UAE
- Lifetime Achievement in architectural Community award: Daniel Libeskind
- Overall winner for 2012: Musashino Art University Museum & Library Tokyo, Japan


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