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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Sultanate to host Aga Khan Award for Architecture in October

Six winners for 2022 announced

The Sultanate of Oman will host the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) 2022 in October this year.


The event, to be held in October 2022, marks the 45th anniversary of the award, with a turnout of 463 contesting projects shortlisted for the 15th edition of the prize.


The winners are Urban River Spaces, Jhenaidah and Community Spaces in Rohingya Refugee Response, Cox’s Bazar from Bangladesh, Banyuwangi International airport, Blimbingsari, East Java from Indonesia, Argo Contemporary Art Museum and Cultural Centre, Tehran, Iran, Renovation of Niemeyer Guest House, Tripoli, Lebanon, and Kamanar Secondary School, Thionck Essyl, Senegal.


The winners will share the $1 million award, one of the largest cash rewards for architecture that reflects the concern for communities, innovation and the environment.


The event comes in conjunction with the Aga Khan Music Awards ceremony.


The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established in 1977 by the Aga Khan, 49th hereditary Imam of the Ismaili Muslims, to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence. The Award’s selection process emphasises architecture that not only provides for people’s physical, social and economic needs but also stimulates and responds to their cultural aspirations.


The Award recognises 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.


Particular attention is given to building schemes that use local resources and appropriate technology in innovative ways and to projects likely to inspire similar efforts elsewhere.


The award not only rewards architects but also identifies municipalities, builders, clients, master artisans and engineers who have played important roles in the project. In the past 15 triennial cycles of the Award, 128 projects have been awarded and nearly 10,000 building projects have been documented.


Farrokh Derakhshani, Director of the Agha Khan Award for Architecture, clarified that the 45th edition of the award witnessed great competition among the 463 projects that participated. The projects were sorted into 20, and then into 6 projects with the winners announced today.


He stressed that the Sultanate of Oman's hosting of the awards ceremony will have a positive role because the Sultanate of Oman enjoys the infrastructure that makes it ready to host this great event.


Derakhshani added that this year we celebrate the forty-fifth anniversary of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, confirming that the award came to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully meet the needs and aspirations of societies in which Muslims have a significant presence. Also, the award selection process emphasizes architecture that does not only provide physical, social and economic needs of individuals but also stimulates and responds to their cultural aspirations


In a meeting in February 2022, an independent Master Jury shortlisted 20 projects from a pool of 463 projects nominated for the 15th Award Cycle (2020-2022). Subsequently, after on-site reviews of the shortlist by a team of experts, the jury awarded six projects amongst them.


Ceremonies to honour the winning projects and mark the close of each triennial cycle are held in settings selected for their architectural and cultural importance to the Muslim world. The venues encompass many of the most illustrious architectural achievements in the Muslim world, including Shalimar Gardens in Lahore (1980), Topkapi Palace in Istanbul (1983), the Alhambra in Granada (1998) and Emperor Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi (2004).


The 2022 Award Steering Committee


The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is governed by a Steering Committee chaired by the Aga Khan. The other members of the Steering Committee are Sheikha Mai Bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, President, Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research, Manama; Emre Arolat, Founder, EAA - Emre Arolat Architecture, Istanbul; Meisa Batayneh, Principal Architect, Founder, Maisam Architects and Engineers, Amman; Sir David Chipperfield, Principal, David Chipperfield Architects, London; Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Director, Institute of African Studies, Columbia University, New York; Nasser Rabbat, Aga Khan Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge; Marina Tabassum, Principal, Marina Tabassum Architects, Dhaka; and Sarah M. Whiting, Dean, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Cambridge. Farrokh Derakhshani is the Director of the Award.


The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).


Founded and guided by Aga Khan, the AKDN works in 30 countries to improve the quality of life and to create opportunities for people of all faiths and origins. Its agencies operate over 1,000 programmes and institutions – some more than a century old. The Network’s approach to development spans a range of cultural, social, economic and environmental endeavours.


The mandates of its agencies include education and health, agriculture and food security, micro-finance, human habitat, crisis response and disaster reduction, protection of the environment, art, music, architecture, urban planning and conservation, and cultural heritage and preservation. AKDN employs approximately 96,000 people, the overwhelming majority of whom are based in developing countries.


AKDN’s annual expenditures for non-profit development activities are approximately $1 billion.


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