- Award Cycle:Status:Award RecipientCountry of origin:YemenLocation:Shibam, YemenClient:Local CommunityArchitect:GTZ Technical OfficeDesign:Size:81'000 m²Completed:2005
The mud-brick high-rise buildings of Shibam cluster in a walled mass that exudes the genius of Yemeni architecture. As an urban monument, Shibam is of international architectural significance, yet the motor of this rehabilitation project is not the preservation of buildings but rather the creation of new economic and social structures that will restore the vitality of the city. A joint Yemeni-German initiative, the Shibam Urban Development Project has stemmed depopulation by providing technical and financial support for the renovation of almost half of the housing stock. It has worked with the local authorities to improve essential services and infrastructure. Most importantly, it has given local people the means and the confidence to take concrete steps towards improving their lives.
Through new community-based organisations local craftsmen are being trained, women are being offered literacy classes and the chance to learn new skills, and agriculture in the outlying area is being revived through the restoration of the old canal and spate irrigation system.