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19 projects shortlisted for 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture

Switzerland Architecture News - May 9, 2016 - 16:45   17436 views

The 19 shortlisted projects for the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture were announced today.  The projects, which were selected by the Master Jury from amongst 348 projects nominated for the 13th Award cycle, will be competing for US$ 1 million in prize money.

The 19 projects are now undergoing rigorous investigations by on-site reviewers – architects, conservation specialists or structural engineers themselves – who visit and evaluate each project first-hand.  Their reports are the basis for the Master Jury’s selection of the eventual winners.  

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture’s mandate is different from that of many other architecture prizes: it selects projects – from slum upgrading to high rise “green” buildings – that not only exhibit architectural excellence but also improve the overall quality of life. Over the last four decades, it has steadfastly championed the needs and aspirations of human beings within the practice of architecture.

New Power Station, Baku, Erginoğlu & Çalışlar Architects: Front facades of large glass transparent openings help achieve full visual perception of the city of Baku and the old power station. Image © Cemal Emden

The Award is also different because it not only rewards architects, but also identifies municipalities, builders, clients, master craftsmen and engineers who have played important roles in the realization of a project. Since the Award was launched 39 years ago, over 110 projects have received the award and more than 9,000 building projects have been documented. 

Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, Dhaka-Marina Tabassum: Built in brick using traditional methods, this mosque is an attempt to create a language of architecture that takes essence from the glorious legacy of mosque architecture in Bengal during the Sultanate period, while maintaining a contemporary expression. Image © AKTC / Sandro di Carlo Dars.

Projects commissioned by the Aga Khan or any of the institutions of the Aga Khan Development Network are ineligible for the Award.  For this cycle hundreds of nominators throughout the world proposed 348 projects from 69 countries, which were then reviewed by an independent Master Jury.

Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, Dhaka-Marina Tabassum: To solve the 13 degree angle created by the existing site with the Qibla axis, a cylendrical volume was inserted into the square envelope to facilitate the rotation of the prayer hall towards Qibla simultaneously formulating light courts on four sides. Image ©AKTC / Sandro di Carlo Dars.

The nine members of the 2016 Master Jury are: Suad Amiry, founder, Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation, Ramallah, Emre Arolat, founder, EAA-Emre Arolat Architecture, Istanbul, Akeel Bilgrami, Sydney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University, New York, Luis Fernàndez-Galiano, editor, Architectura Viva, Madrid, Hameed Haroon, chief executive officer, Herald Publications, Karachi, Lesley Lokko, head, Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, Mohsen Mostafavi, dean, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Cambridge, Dominique Perrault, founder, Dominique Perrault Architecture, Paris, Hossein Rezai, director, Web Structures, Singapore.

Friendship Centre, Gaibandha, Bangladesh, URBANA / Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury: The design relies on natural ventilation and cooling, being facilitated by courtyards and pools and the earth covering on roofs. Image © AKTC / Eric Chenal.

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established by the Aga Khan in 1977 to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence.  The Award recognises examples of architectural excellence in the fields of contemporary design, social housing, community improvement and development, historic preservation, reuse and area conservation, as well as landscape design and improvement of the environment. 

Friendship Centre, Gaibandha, Bangladesh, URBANA / Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury: Located in rural Gaibandha where agriculture is predominant, the project's roofscape merges with its environment. Image © AKTC / Anup Basak.

The Award is governed by a Steering Committee chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan. The Steering Committee can suggest areas of interest, but it has no bearing on the final selections of the independent Master Jury.  

Micro Yuan'er Children’s Library & Art Centre, Beijing, ZAO/standardarchitecture / Zhang Ke. Image courtesy of AKTC

The current members of the Steering Committee are: His Highness the Aga Khan (Chairman), David Adjaye, Principal, Adjaye Associates, London, Mohammad al-Asad, Chairman, CSBE, Amman, Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General for Culture at UNESCO, Paris, Hanif Kara, Professor, Design Director and Co-Founder, AKTII, London, Kamil Merican, Principal Designer and CEO, GDP Architects, Kuala Lumpur, Azim Nanji, Special Advisor, Aga Khan University, Nairobi, Professor Gülru Necipoglu, Director, Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University, Cambridge, Brigitte Shim, Partner, Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, Toronto, Yu Kongjian, Founder and Dean, Graduate School of Landscape Architecture, Peking University, Beijing.

Micro Yuan'er Children’s Library & Art Centre, Beijing, ZAO/standardarchitecture / Zhang Ke. Image courtesy of AKTC

Superkilen, Copenhagen, BIG- Bjarke Ingels Group: Aerial view of Superkilen spreading over 30'000 m², showing Red Square for sports activities, Green Park the children’s playground, and Black Market the food market and picnic area. Image © AKTC / Superflex

Superkilen, Copenhagen, BIG- Bjarke Ingels Group: This urban park is identifiable and memorable. Superkilen relates to the human scale and has a sense of activity, complexity and visual richness; all making it a highly walkable experience. Image © AKTC / Kristian Skeie.


Manouchehri House, Kashan
40 Knots House, Tehran

Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge, Tehran, Diba Tensile Architecture / Leila Araghian, Alireza Behzadi: Usually considered as structural projects, this bridge has a more architectural approach with its multiple paths and inviting spaces; it became one of Tehran 's architectural destinations. Image  © AKTC / Mohammad Hassan Ettefagh.

Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge, Tehran, Diba Tensile Architecture / Leila Araghian, Alireza Behzadi: The structural concept resulted in a dynamic 3 dimensional truss with two continuous deck levels; this provided a lower level which is covered and therefore usable in all seasons. Image © AKTC / Mohammad Hassan Ettefagh. 

Royal Academy for Nature Conservation, Ajloun, Jordan, Khammash Architects: The academy touches the forest with a beautiful handshake, the building hovers over the forest and barely touches it. Image © AKTC / Cemal Emden.


Bunateka Libraries, Various Locations, Bujar Nrecaj Architects


Guelmim School of Technology, Guelmim, Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani, Mohamed Amine Siana

Casa-Port New Railway Station, Casablanca, AREP and Groupe 3 Architectes


Makoko Floating School, Lagos, NLÉ - Shaping the Architecture of Developing Cities / Kunlé Adeyemi

Issam Fares Institute, Beirut, Lebanon, Zaha Hadid Architects: The design reduces the building's footprint by "floating" a reading room, a workshop conference room and research spaces above the entrance courtyard in the form of a 21-metre-long cantilever in order to preserve the existing landscape.Image © AKTC / Cemal Emden.

Issam Fares Institute, Beirut, Lebanon, Zaha Hadid Architects: Routes, views and links within the campus converge to define the IFI as a three-dimensional intersection; a central hub for students, faculty, researchers and visitors. Image © AKTC / Cemal Emden.

Doha Tower, Doha,Qatar, Ateliers Jean Nouvel: The Tower is a cylindrical volume that measures 45 m in diameter. Image © AKAA / Cemal Emden

Doha Tower, Doha,Qatar, Ateliers Jean Nouvel: The internal layer is a slightly reflective glass skin that completes the solar protection. Image © AKAA / Cemal Emden

Saudi Arabia

King Fahad National Library, Riyadh, Gerber Architekten International


Thread: Artist Residency and Cultural Centre, Sinthian, Toshiko Mori Architects  


Nasrid Tower Restoration, Huercal-Overa, Castillo Miras Arquitectos

Ceuta Public Library, Ceuta, Paredes Pedrosa Arquitectos: The perforated aluminium panels are used to unify the different eleemnts of the building facades. Image courtesy of AKTC

Ceuta Public Library, Ceuta, Paredes Pedrosa Arquitectos: The concrete basement recalls some of the medieval fortifications of the city of Ceuta. Image courtesy of AKTC

The shortlisted projects will also be featured in a series of programmes on TV 5 Monde, beginning on the 9th of May, in the following languages: Arabic, English, Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian, Russian and Vietnamese. 

Top Image: New Power Station, Baku, Erginoğlu & Çalışlar Architects: Main entrance to the multifunctional hall building with transparent facades and large canopies created to enable outdoor gatherings; events can be as varied as weddings, car shows, live tv feeds, concerts, fashion shows and many more. Image © Cemal Emden

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