Since its inception in 1977, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, established by His Highness the Aga Khan was presented to recognise and support architectural monuments established in Muslim communities throughout the world.
The 2016 awards announcement was held on October 3, 2016 at Al Jahili Fort, a World Heritage Site in Al Ain. As one of the largest forts in the UAE, Al Jahili was constructed in 1891 by Sheikh Zayed the First, and remained one of the main residences of the Al Nahyan family. The profound setting was selected to unveil the Aga Khan Award for Architecture due to its cultural and historic importance to the UAE and the Muslim world.
The Director of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Mr. Farrokh Derakhshani demonstrated the key areas of criteria which the jury take into consideration for the nomination process which include innovation, a good usage of resources, replicability in terms of architectural concept and most importantly, excellence in the conceptual approach, execution and the involvement of the architectural firm with the community and its impact on society. On the significance of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Mr. Derakhshani stated,
This year, the winners were announced by His Excellency Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, Chairman of Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport of the United Arab Emirates. 348 architectural projects were nominated by the jury, 19 were shortlisted, and six landmarks were selected as the final winners, which are listed as follows:
Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, Dhaka, Bangladesh, by architect Marina Tabassum. The mosque was selected for its use of abstract symbolism, ventilation and natural use of light.
Friendship Centre, Gaibandha, Bangladesh by Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury/URBANA. The community centre’s innovative usage of pavilions, reflective pools and landscaping in an area susceptible to flooding.
Cha’er Hutong Children’s Library and Art Centre, Beijing, China designed by ZAO, standardarchitecture and Zhang Ke. The children’s library and art centre showcases how new spaces constructed amidst the historic building has strengthened the bonds within the local community.
Superkilen, Copenhagen, Denmark by architect BIG- Bjarke Ingels Group, Topotek 1 and Superflex. The public space facilitated integration across ethnicity, religion and culture among the residents of a neighbourhood which was historically divided.
Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge, Tehran, Iran. Designed by Diba Tensile Architecture, Leila Araghian and Alireza Behzadi. The bridge spans across a motorway which connects two parks and has evolved into one of the most popular public spaces in Tehran.
Issam Fares Institute, Beirut, Lebanon by Zaha Hadid Architects. The iconic building at the American University of Beirut’s campus, presents a bold and volumetric composition which appears to float above the natural setting of the courtyard.
For further information on the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, view our gallery and click here.