Twenty projects shortlisted for $1-million Aga Khan Award for Architecture

The shortlist of nominees for the 2013 cycle of Aga Khan Award for Architecture was recently announced by the master jury. The 20 nominees for the $1-million prize range from a modern high-rise apartment block to a bridge.  Shortlisted projects are located in Afghanistan, Austria, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Palestine, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The shortlist includes:

1. Maria Grazia Cutuli Primary School, Herat, Afghanistan

2. Islamic Cemetery, Altach, Austria

3. Gaoligong Museum of Handcraft Paper, Gaoligong Mountain, China

4. Rehabilitation of Nagaur Fort, Nagaur, Rajasthan, India

5. Mbaru Niang, Wae Rebo Village, Flores Island, Indonesia

6. Apartment No.1, Mahallat, Iran

7. Rehabilitation of Tabriz Bazaar, Tabriz, Iran

8. Reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared Refugee Camp, Tripoli, Lebanon

9. Hassan II Bridge, Rabat, Morocco

10. Mohammed VI Soccer Academy, Salé, Morocco

11. Preservation of Sacred and Collective Oasis, Guelmim Region, Morocco

12. Revival of Birzeit’s Historic Centre, Birzeit, Palestine

13. Girubuntu Primary School, Kigali, Rwanda

14. Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre, Limpopo, South Africa

15. Post-Tsunami Rehabilitation of Kirinda Houses, Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka

16. Hospitals in Sudan, Khartoum and Nyala, Sudan

17. Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle, Damascus, Syria

18. Kantana Film and Animation Institute, Nakhon Prathom, Thailand                    

19. The Met, Bangkok, Thailand

20. Thula Fort Restoration, Thula, Yemen

Farrokh Derakhshani, the Director of the Award, remarked: “The master jury, which includes some of the most prominent architects of our time, made interesting choices this year. For example, they chose schools in Afghanistan and Syria, but they also chose a hospital in Sudan, a high-rise in Bangkok and the reconstruction of a refugee camp in Lebanon. In many ways, the choices reflect a central preoccupation of the Award: the impact of buildings and public spaces on the quality of life. Now this seems fairly mainstream, but we must remember that the Aga Khan Award has been talking about “human scale” and “sustainability” since 1977.”

The Award’s mandate is different from that of many other architecture prizes: it selects projects — from innovative mud and bamboo schools to state-of-the-art “green” high-rises — that not only exhibit architectural excellence but also improve the overall quality of life. Since the Award was launched 36 years ago, over 100 projects have received the award and more than 7,500 building projects have been documented.

The shortlisted projects are now being technically reviewed by a select group of architects, urban planners and engineers. The reviews, which emphasize both the impact on the quality of life and architectural excellence, will be submitted in June to the master jury for closer evaluation. Five to six finalists will then be selected and announced at a ceremony to be held in Lisbon in September 2013.

The Awards are selected by an independent master jury appointed by the Steering Committee for each three-year Award cycle. The nine members of the Master Jury for the 2010-2013 Award cycle are: Mr. David Adjaye, Principal, Adjaye Associates, London, United Kingdom; Dr. Howayda al-Harithy, Professor, Department of Architecture and Design, American University of Beirut, Lebanon; Mr. Michel Desvigne, Landscape Architect and Founder, Agence Michel Desvigne, Paris, France; Professor Mahmood Mamdani, Professor and Executive Director, Makerere Institute for Social Research (MISR), Wandegeya, Uganda; Mr. Kamil Merican, Principal Designer and CEO, Group Design Partnership, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Professor Toshiko Mori, Principal, Toshiko Mori Architect, New York City, USA; Ms. Shahzia Sikander, Artist, New York City, USA; Mr. Murat Tabanlioglu, Architect and Founder, Tabanlioglu Architects, Istanbul, Turkey; Mr. Wang Shu, Architect and Founder, Amateur Architecture Studio, Hangzhou, China. Full biographies of master jury members can be found online at  

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 communities in which Muslims have a significant presence. The Award recognizes 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 is governed by a Steering Committee chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan. The current members of the Steering Committee are: His Highness the Aga Khan (Chairman); Mohammad al-Asad (Founder & Chairman, Center for the Study of the Built Environment, Jordan); Homi K. Bhabha (Director of the Humanities Center, Harvard University, USA); Norman Foster (Founder and Chairman, Foster + Partners, UK); Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj (Architect, Damascus); Glenn Lowry (Director, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA); Rahul Mehrotra (Principal, RMA Architects, India); Mohsen Mostafavi (Dean of the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, USA); Farshid Moussavi (Principal, Farshid Moussavi Architecture, UK); and Han Tümertekin (Principal, Mimarlar Tasarim Danismanlik Ltd, Turkey). Farrokh Derakhshani is Director of the Award.

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