November 29, 2004
by Canadian Architect
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture has a triennial prize fund of $500,000 US, the world’s largest architectural award. The seven projects selected by the 2004 Award Master Jury are:
Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt
Primary School, Gando, Burkina Faso
Sandbag Shelter Prototypes, various locations
Restoration of Al-Abbas Mosque, Asnaf, Yemen
Old City of Jerusalem Revitalisation Programme, Jerusalem
B2 House, Ayvaczk, Turkey
Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malysia
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 Aga Khan emphasized that the Award for Architecture was a recognition of the work of architects and their clients, builders large and small, governments, planners, international organizations, granting agencies, village organizations and individuals, all of whom were collectively responsible for the creation of a humane and socially supportive built environment that was important to the quality of life of people.
During the current cycle of the Award, 378 projects were presented for consideration, and 23 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 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.