The annual platform for creatives of neighbouring communities across the Middle East, North Africa & South Asia (MENASA) regions, Abwab will in its 2021 edition present the latest innovations in contemporary architecture through commissioning a large-scale, contemporary architecture pavilion, acting as the centerpiece feature of Dubai Design Week in its main hub at Dubai Design District (d3).

Under the theme of regenerative architecture and restorative design, an open call invites designers, creative studios and architects in the MENASA region to submit their proposal for an architectural pavilion. Creatives and designers are invited to turn their focus to themes centered around the human impact on the planet and the role of design as a restorative tool while embedding nature as a core element

Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals including complementary programming of the space through cross disciplinary collaborations as well as plan for the commission’s afterlife post Dubai Design Week in November


Regenerative architecture and Restorative design

Hosting all living systems and organisms that are interconnected, interdependent and mutually beneficial to each other, it is time to start embedding nature as a core element in design practices. Planet conscious Investigations and themes related to Energy, Materials, Land, Air & Water and Ecosystems are encouraged for designers and architects to embed in their proposals and investigations for Abwab 2021, by adopting reparative and restorative design approaches.

These approaches introduce a notion of co-living and interconnectedness. Designers are invited to explore them, by placing nature and the living organisms at the centre of their design process while considering the direct impact of their work on the environment, shifting to a more responsible and circular approach to designing while ensuring diverse representation of Middle Eastern design through locally and regionally sourced ideas and inspirations.

Examples of restorative design include; Circular economy systems; Biophilic Design, Nature & Wellbeing, Biomimicry, Locality etc.

Criteria & Conditions

The conceptual proposal is required to:

  • Explore contemporary design and architecture while maintaining contextual cultural and geographical relevance
  • Act as a large scale pavilion within the dedicated central location at d3
  • Be partially or entirely produced in the UAE
  • Demonstrate a strong relationship to the theme
  • Follow a responsible design approach taking into account sustainable use of materials and production processes, construction, installation and operation processes
  • Include the thinking and planning for the afterlife of the pavilion and prospects of future deployment and programming
  • Include a strong collaboration, that is both relevant to the DNA of Abwab as a platform for the Arab region and its cultural diversity as well as this year’s theme.
  • Proposals need to be original and the Participant confirms that they are the owner of all appropriate intellectual property rights in the Submission.

Technical Requirements:

The design proposal must be:

  • Suitable for outdoor installation in d3 based on the below map location
  • The proposal cannot exceed 250sqm
  • The weight must be less than 250kg per square meter.
  • The design proposal must be easily maintained considering the climate of Dubai;
  • the heat and humid weather conditions, dust, sand and occasional heavy showers and should be easily cleaned
  • The pavilion needs to take into consideration durability especially that it will remain exhibited for a longer duration of time than the duration of Dubai Design Week

Power Requirement:

  • If solar-power is required for the proposal it must be fully integrated in the body of the design

Submissions must include supporting materials:

  • A minimum of five digital files showing the proposed concept with real life identical high-resolution renderings – physical models, 3D’s, architectural drawings and/or sketches are encouraged.
  • A clear budget breakdown for the production of the design
  • A description text of 300 words describing the concept of the design

*All images must be high quality and a maximum of 1MB. Please follow submission form guidelines.
** This open call does not apply to large architectural entities, but targets middle sized creative studios, individual creatives and SMEs


The winning proposal will be awarded 40,000 USD in production fees and 10,000 USD in design fees, including all project development technical plans, renders and production management and supervision.

For more information, please reach out to

Concept image: Designed by Greenerontheotherside, Photography: İeva saudargaitė