A contest recently held in Saudi Arabia to foster local architectural talent has shown promising results with the winners displaying quality work, according to the organiser, Sigma Paints.

Sigma, which is one of the region's leading quality paint manufacturers, held the first Sigma Paints Architectural Awards contest in conjunction with the College of Environmental Design, Architecture Department at King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in Dammam.

The contest ran through September with teams of students from the Architecture Department developing a project to demonstrate the effective use of interior colours in a building. A committee comprising faculty members and Sigma Paints general manager Jo Paffen chose the winning teams that were announced at a special ceremony attended by Professor Dr Abdullah Abdul-Gader, vice rector for graduate studies and scientific research.

"Even we at Sigma, who as a company draw on over 275 years of experience from our association with the SigmaKalon Group, have been greatly impressed by both the quality of work of the students as well as their enthusiasm for the award scheme. Some teams made very impressive presentations to accompany their projects,'' says Paffen. ''Indeed, we shall support the implementation of the winning project with $5,000 worth of quality Sigma paint. We also look forward to establishing this award as an annual event and perhaps even taking it across to other GCC states.''

"Our students have benefited greatly from this award exercise not just in terms of the prizes but also from the input from Sigma Paints as a market leader in its field. The project will also represent 10 per cent of the student's total semester grade,'' says Dr Thamer Al Rugaib, head of the Architecture Department. ''It was of particular interest to monitor how students transferred theory to practice and dealt with the challenge of the psyche of the inhabitants of the project structure, the intended effect of the colour systems in various parts of the structure and the relevance of the colour systems to the structure, its environment and its design. We feel this award will encourage local architectural talent.''

The first prize of SR10,000 ($2,666) was awarded to Team F comprising team leader Muhammad Umar Ba-Busail, Mohammad Hafni, Mohammad A-Saati, Abdallah Abu Zaid and Rafat Al-Labban.

The second prize of SR6,000 went to Team A comprising team leader Ala Zaki Abdallah Al-Senan, Khalid Al-Saleh, Tarrah Bassam, Hani Rabhan and Fawaz Al-Harbi.

Team D, which won the third prize of SR2,500, comprised team leader Loui Muhammad Uthman Al-Maddah , Adel Bayazid, Hani Al-Ghazal, Eiad Dahnim.

Sigma Paints Saudi Arabia is a leading manufacturer of decorative paints, protective coatings and marine coatings in the Middle East, with an annual production capacity of 60,000 tonnes and 250 employees.

Sigma Paints is part of SigmaKalon, the world's fifth largest paints and coatings manufacturer.