7 Projects Receive The 2004 Aga Khan Award for Architecture

Nov. 30, 2004
Recipients of the Aga Kahn Award, the world’s largest architectural cash prize, were named in a Nov. 27 ceremony in Delhi. Of the 378 projects presented for consideration, outside experts reviewed 23 on site. An independent Master Jury selected seven Award recipients that are notable for having attained the highest international standards of architectural excellence while reflecting the values of the primarily Muslim societies the projects are intended to serve.Recipients of the 2004 Aga Khan Award for Architecture were announced by His Highness the Aga Khan in a ceremony held at the Gardens of Emperor Humayun's Tomb in Delhi.2004 marks the completion of the ninth cycle of the programme, which has a triennial prize fund of $500,000, the world’s largest architectural award. During the current cycle of the Award, 378 projects were presented for consideration, and twenty-three were reviewed on site by outside experts. An independent Master Jury selected seven Award recipients that are notable for having attained the highest international standards of architectural excellence while reflecting the values of the primarily Muslim societies the projects are intended to serve. The seven projects selected by the 2004 Award Master Jury are:Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, EgyptPrimary School, Gando, Burkina FasoSandbag Shelter Prototypes, various locationsRestoration of Al-Abbas Mosque, Asnaf, YemenOld City of Jerusalem Revitalisation Programme, JerusalemB2 House, Ayvacık, TurkeyPetronasTowers, Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaTwo of the projects –Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt and the PetronasTowers in Malaysia – are the results of important international architectural competitions for high-profile landmark buildings. A third project – the Sandbag Shelter Prototypes– is an experiment for self-built housing that employs earth-filled sandbags stacked atop each other to form domed and vaulted spaces.  The provision of housing is an important aspect of the Old City of Jerusalem Revitalization Programme that also includes components for the restoration of historic monuments and for the creation of public and community facilities, schools, and playgrounds.The Primary School in Gando, Burkina Faso, goes far beyond its educational program to exemplify high-calibre architectural design employing locally available materials and techniques, training, and community participation and empowerment.B2 House, located in a small village on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, extends architectural design to a poetic level, establishing dialogue between nature and building, inside and outside, and public and private.The Restoration of Al-Abbas Mosque in Yemen represents attainment of the highest standards of restoration and conservation while, at the same time, investigating the nature and contemporary importance of a sacred site.Reinforcing the architectural excellence of the seven winning projects is the written statement of the Master Jury, which reveals the comprehensive approach adopted to discover, understand and explain the challenges of architecture in the Muslim world as it confronts modernity in all its diversity. The Jury identified four areas of social meaning to illustrate the winning projects: how the complexity of history and of historical memory can be expressed in architecture; how private initiatives are integrated into the emerging public sphere; how to express individuality within complex social settings and in the context of the plurality of Muslim traditions; and how power and authority in the global domains of technology, culture and economics might be addressed through architecture. Throughout their two week-long meetings at the Award headquarters in Geneva, the Jury gave foremost importance to projects that raise the standards of excellence. 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 Islamic societies. The Award recognizes examples of architectural excellence throughout the Islamic world in the fields of contemporary design, social housing, community improvement and development, restoration, reuse and area conservation, as well as landscape design and improvement of the environment. The Award is governed by a Steering Committee chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan. The current members of the Steering Committee are Akram Abu Hamdan (Director General, National Resources Investment and Development Corporation, Amman); Charles Correa (Principal, Charles Correa Architects, Mumbai); Abdou Filali-Ansary (Director, Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, Aga Khan University, London); Jacques Herzog (Partner, Herzog & de Meuron Architects, Basel); Glenn Lowry (Director, The Museum of Modern Art, New York); Mohsen Mostafavi (Dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning, Cornell University, New York); Babar Khan Mumtaz (Reader in Housing Studies, University of London); and Peter Rowe (Raymond Garbe Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Harvard University, and Education Programme Director of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture).  Suha Özkan is the Secretary General of the Award.The Awards are selected by an independent Master Jury appointed by the Steering Committee for each three-year Award cycle. The Master Jury members for the 2002-2004 cycle are Ghada Amer (Artist, New York City); Hanif Kara (Partner, Adams Kara Taylor Structural and Civil Engineering Consultancy, London); Rahul Mehrotra (Executive Director, Urban Design Research Institute, Mumbai); Farshid Moussavi (Partner, Foreign Office Architects, London); Modjtaba Sadria (Professor of Cross-Cultural Relations and East Asian Studies, Chuo University, Tokyo), Reinhard Schulze (Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Berne); Elías Torres Tur (Partner, Martínez Lapeña – Torres Arquitectos S.L., Barcelona); Billie Tsien (Partner, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, New York City); and Jafar Tukan (Principal, Consolidated Consultants for Engineering and the Environment, Amman).A monograph on the 2004 Award will be published by Thames & Hudson in November 2004. Entitled Architecture and Polyphony:  Building in the Islamic World Today, the book includes full descriptions and illustrations of the seven winning projects, as well as essays by Reinhard Schulze, Billie Tsien, Hanif Kara, Elias Torres Tur, Modjtaba Sadria, Babar Khan Mumtaz and Suha Özkan, as well as a series of collages by Ghada Amer.A video of the awards ceremony can be seen here.

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