Aga Khan Award for Architecture Prize doubled to US$ 1 million

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture has announced a doubling of its prize to US$ 1 million. On the occasion of the announcement, His Highness the Aga Khan remarked that the doubling of the Award is meant to assist and support the recipients, many of whom are neither well-known nor well-funded. “One of the important aspects of the Award,” he said, “is that winners should be able to reposition their future with the support they get from the Award, both professionally and institutionally.”

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is given every three years to projects that set new standards of excellence in architecture, planning practices, historic preservation and landscape architecture. The next prize will be awarded in 2013.  Nominations are now being accepted until 15 September 2012.

The Award seeks projects that represent the broadest possible range of architectural interventions, with particular attention given to building schemes that use local resources and appropriate technology in innovative ways, and those that are likely to inspire similar efforts elsewhere. Projects can be anywhere in the world, but must successfully address the needs and aspirations of societies in which Muslims have a significant presence.

In recent cycles, the Award has encouraged the submission of projects which improve public spaces and which tackle the issues of rural societies and communities on the peripheries of urban centres. It has also encouraged exemplary industrial buildings that provide a quality environment for employees.

Recent recipients of the Award include Norman Foster and Cesar Pelli, but also municipalities, master masons and clients. In 2010, the five recipients of the triennial prize were: a school integrated into a bridge in Xiashi, Fujian, China; the Wadi Hanifa Wetlands, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; the Ipekyol Textile Factory in Edirne, Turkey; the Madinat al-Zahra Museum in Cordoba, Spain; and the Revitalization of the Hypercentre of Tunis, Tunisia.

Other projects that have received the Award since its first ceremony in 1980 include a slum networking project in Indore, India; the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris; the Central Market of Koudougou, Burkina Faso; and the National Assembly building in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Selections of the award recipients are made by an independent master jury, which is reconstituted for every cycle. The Award process is overseen by a  steering committee, which includes His Highness the Aga Khan; Mohammad al-Asad (Founder and Chairman, Center for the Study of the Built Environment, Amman, Jordan); Homi K. Bhabha (Director of the Humanities Center, Harvard University, USA); Norman Foster (Founder and Chairman, Foster + Partners, London); Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj (CEO, Syria Trust for Development, Damascus); Glenn Lowry (Director, Museum of Modern Art, New York); Rahul Mehrotra (Principal, RMA Architects, Mumbai); Mohsen Mostafavi (Dean of the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, USA); Farshid Moussavi (Principal, Farshid Moussavi Architecture, London); and Han Tümertekin (Principal, Mimarlar Tasarim Danismanlik Ltd, Istanbul). Farrokh Derakhshani is the Director of the Award.

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The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is part of the Geneva-based Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), which has a wide range of activities aimed at the preservation and promotion of the material and spiritual heritage of Muslim societies. Its programs include the Aga Khan Historic Cities Program (HCP), which works to revitalize historic cities in the Muslim world, both culturally and socioeconomically. Over the last decade, it has been engaged in the rehabilitation of historic areas in Cairo, Kabul, Herat, Aleppo, Delhi, Zanzibar, Mostar, northern Pakistan, Timbuktu and Mopti. The Trust also supports the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as well as, a major online resource on Islamic architecture.