Closeup of Omar Al-Hassawi
Omar Al-Hassawi

Omar Al-Hassawi is the recipient of the American Institute of Architecture Students and Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) New Faculty Teaching Award.

The award honors early career, architecture faculty members who demonstrate excellence in teaching performance. ACSA is an international association of architecture schools and represents about 7,000 faculty who teach more than 40,000 students in the U.S. and Canada.

Al-Hassawi, assistant professor in the School of Design and Construction, teaches graduate design studios and a passive environmental control systems course. He is the first WSU recipient of the annual teaching award since 1990.

“Omar inspires student success through rigorously designed courses infused with his optimism for how architecture can benefit society,” said Matt Melcher, associate professor in the School of Design and Construction and one of Al-Hassawi’s nominators. “This teaching award reflects his command of teaching craft and genuine care for the future success of our graduates.”

In Al-Hassawi’s courses, students have designed projects ranging from affordable homeless shelters and a mixed-use development using mass timber to a memorial for a WSU alumnus who died during Operation Desert Storm. In 2018, Al-Hassawi and Professor Ayad Rahmani led students on a trip to Jordan as part of the School of Design and Construction course, Global Engagement in Design and Construction. A team of his students won a national prize for their design of a waste to energy power plant, and another student received an honorable mention in an international competition for his project to transform cities through sustainability and use of renewable resources.

Students in front of ancient Petra
Al-Hassawi along with Professor Ayad Rahmani led students on a trip to Jordan, including to the Dead Sea and Petra, as part of a School of Design and Construction course.

Earlier this year, Al-Hassawi and his colleague, David Drake, received a grant from VentureWell to support curriculum development for courses in sustainable building and entrepreneurship. The grant was one of 13 awarded from throughout the U.S.

Al-Hassawi’s research has focused on passive cooling systems that can be applied to building design by architects. He practiced architecture across the Middle East and was involved in the design of key projects in the region such as the Capital Market Authority Tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Amman, Jordan.

He holds a PhD in Design, Environment, and the Arts from Arizona State University, a Master of Architecture from University of Arizona, and a bachelor’s degree from University of Jordan.