Six Projects Win the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture

Six projects have been announced as the winners of the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. The Award was established in 1977 to encourage building concepts that address the needs of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence.

Every three years, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture identifies leading projects, as well as the municipalities, builders, clients, master artisans and engineers who have played important roles in realizing them.

The six winners, who will share $ 1 million between them, were chosen by a nine-member jury, which included: Anthony Kwamé Appiah, Meisa Batayneh, Sir David Chipperfield, Elizabeth Diller, Edhem Eldem, Mona Fawaz, Kareem Ibrahim, Ali M. Malkawi, and Nondita Correa Mehrotra.

The winners are:

Public square | © Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Cemal Emden (photographer)


The Authority for Culture & Antiquities Conservation Department of Bahrain has, since 2013, highlighted a World Heritage Site’s pearling history, through a series of restoration and reuse efforts. The project evolved into a comprehensive programme that aims to re-balance the city’s demographic makeup by creating public spaces, providing community and cultural venues, and improving the overall environment.

Children playing on the terrace | © Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Sanndro di Carlo Darsa (photographer)


Designed by designed by architect Saif Ul Haque Sthapati, the Arcadia Education Project in South Kanarchor is a modular structure that takes a novel approach to a riverine site that is often flooded for five months each year. Rather than disrupting the ecosystem to create a mound for building, the architect devised the solution of an amphibious structure that could sit on the ground or float on the water, depending on seasonal conditions.

The museum is integrated into the surrounding landscape | © Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Cemal Emden (photographer)


Located in Birzeit, the Palestinian Museum crowns a terraced hill overlooking the Mediterranean. It was designed through an international competition by Dublin-based architects Heneghan Peng. The zigzagging forms of the Museum’s architecture and hillside gardens are inspired by the surrounding agricultural terraces, stressing a link with the land and with Palestinian heritage.

Aerial view of the pool from the beach, Almetyevsk | © Ivan Petrov


An award goes to a program in the Republic of Tatarstan that, to date, has improved 328 public spaces all over Tatarstan.  The ambitious program sought to counter the trend toward private ownership by refocusing priorities on quality public spaces for the people of Tatarstan.  It has now become a model throughout the Russian Federation.

View of access ramps and façade | © Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Chérif Tall (photographer)


The Alioune Diop University Teaching and Research Unit is located in Bambey, where a scarcity of resources led to the use of bioclimatic strategies by Spanish architects IDOM . Strategies include a large double-roof canopy and latticework wall that provides shelter from the sun while allowing for air flow.  By employing familiar construction techniques and following sustainability principles, it succeeded in keeping costs and maintenance demands to a minimum, while still making a bold architectural statement.

Bird view of the Visitor Centre | © X-Architects / Nelson Garrido (photographer)


The Wasit Wetland Centre, in Sharjah, is a design that transformed a wasteland into a wetland. Designed by Dubai-based X-Architects, it functions as a catalyst for biodiversity and environmental education. Its indigenous ecosystem has been restored, and it has also proven to be a popular place for visitors to appreciate and learn about their natural environment.

Project descriptions courtesy of

A monograph, which includes essays on issues raised by the Master Jury’s selections of the shortlist and the winners for the 2019 Award, has been published by ArchiTangle Publishers, Berlin. The book, Architecture in Dialogue, edited by Andres Lepik, includes descriptions and illustrations of the 20 shortlisted projects, including the six winning projects. For more information, please see: