The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established by Mawlana Hazar Imam in 1977, with the purpose of renewing the rich traditions of Islamic architecture. In recent history, these traditions have often suffered along with modernisation and westernisation of building practices, leading to a loss of cultural legacy. In response, the Award seeks to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence.
Over the past 42 years, the award has recognised 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. The award rewards not only architects, but also municipalities, builders, clients, artisans, and engineers who have contributed to winning projects.
Since its launch, 13 triennial award cycles have been completed, and 116 projects across the world have been recognised — from France to China — while winners have hailed from New York to Dhaka. This year’s winners will share US $1 million between them.
Aga Khan Award for Architecture ceremonies have traditionally been held in settings selected for their architectural and cultural importance to the Muslim world. This year’s ceremony will take place in Kazan, Russia, which contains a World Heritage Site. Previous Award ceremonies have been hosted at some of the most illustrious architectural settings in the Muslim world, including Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, Pakistan; Topkapi Palace in Instanbul, Turkey; the Alhambra in Granada, Spain; and Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, India.
The 2016 cycle was held in the United Arab Emirates, at which Mawlana Hazar Imam explained the importance of the Award, saying, “Architecture is the only art form which has a direct, daily impact on the quality of human life.” He went on to say that, “The Award seeks to guide and inspire better building in the future” and that “we hope to remind people everywhere, of all backgrounds and identities, of a powerful lesson: The way in which a thoughtful concern for the built environment can characterise an entire civilisation.”
Taking place from 12-14 September in Kazan, Russia, the 2019 Award proceedings will include a seminar and the Award Ceremony which will be presided over by Mawlana Hazar Imam. The ceremony, on Friday 13 September will be webcast live - more details will be released closer to the date.
The 2019 winning projects are:
- Revitalisation of Muharraq (Bahrain)
- Arcadia Education Project, in South Kanarchor (Bangladesh)
- Palestinian Museum, in Birzeit (Palestine)
- Public Spaces Development Programme, in the Republic of Tatarstan (Russian Federation)
- Alioune Diop University Teaching and Research Unit, in Bambey (Senegal)
- Wasit Wetland Centre, in Sharjah (UAE)
For more information on each of the winning projects, including full briefs, images, video, and more, please see: https://www.akdn.org/aga-khan-award-architecture-2019-winners