Earlier this week we posted the 20 exemplary projects that have been selected for the 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture Shortlist. At an official ceremony at St. George's Castle in Lisbon in September 2013, 5 or 6 of these breathtaking schemes will be chosen to share a prize fund of $1m in recognition of the impact they have had on the quality of life of their users.
A presentation was held on Thursday, 2 May at The Ismaili Centre in London by Farrokh Derakhshani, Director of the Aga Khan Award (attended by WAN's Katerina Hojgrova) where David Adjaye, Fashid Moussavi and Hanif Kara spoke to eager journalists about their involvement in the programme. Hosted every three years, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established 36 years ago by the Aga Khan to indentify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence.
Over the years, more than 100 projects have been awarded winning status and over 7,500 individual schemes have been documented. These range from historic preservation to reuse and area conservation, landscape design to contemporary architecture, but all display exceptional design talent and a sensitive handling of context combined with a thorough understanding of the end user.
At the press conference, member of this year’s Master Jury David Adjaye, summarised: “[The Award] is not about money but about the intention to address issues. Sometimes other awards are looking at technical excellence or other specifics; here you are looking at how architecture impacts the built environment as a result. The projects you see are very fragile sometimes; it’s not always about lots of money. It’s about the client’s intention and the process.”
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture looks to bring a new awareness to the field, educating clients to ensure that more appropriate and indeed ‘better’ buildings are designed in the future. A network of 1,000 nominators across the world have scoured the Earth’s surface for the crème de la crème of effective building design and this year’s shortlisted schemes are truly marvellous. Click here for the full shortlist, here to visit the Aga Khan Award for Architecture website and here for detailed descriptions of all 20 projects.
As Steering Committee Member Farshid Moussavi concluded: “[The Award] is a constant process of thinking, development and how you can explore patronage for diversities, for pluralism and for engagement through the process of change through architecture… There are, of course, the nominators that also come from different backgrounds and participate in producing a very wide range of projects that we end up looking at. To recognise not only the architect but also the larger body that shapes the project; it’s a broad way of looking at the architecture and through pluralism and levels of diversity we can see that people can make the world better together.”
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