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The Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) is an architectural prize established by Aga Khan IV in 1977. It aims to identify and reward architectural concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of Islamic societies in the fields of contemporary design, social housing, community development and improvement, restoration, reuse and area conservation, as well as landscape design and improvement of the environment.[1] It is presented in three-year cycles to multiple projects and has a monetary award, with prizes totalling US$ 1 million.[2] Uniquely among architectural awards, it recognizes projects, teams, and stakeholders in addition to buildings and people.[1]

The award is associated with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).


Award processEdit

The award is aimed at societies in which Muslims have a significant presence.[1] It is organised on the basis of a three-year cycle and is governed by a steering committee chaired by the Aga Khan IV.[3]

A new committee is constituted each cycle to establish the eligibility criteria for projects, provide thematic direction with reference to current concerns, and to develop plans for the long-term future of the award. The Steering Committee is responsible for the selection of the Master Jury appointed for each award cycle, and for activities such as seminars and field visits, the award ceremony, publications and exhibitions.

Chairman's AwardEdit

The Chairman's Award is given in honour of accomplishments that fall outside the mandate of the Master Jury. It recognises lifetime achievements. It has been presented four times: in 1980 to Egyptian architect and urban planner Hassan Fathy,[4] in 1986 to Iraqi architect and educator Rifat Chadirji,[5] in 2001 to Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa,[6] and in 2010 to historian of Islamic art and architecture Oleg Grabar.[7]


The Aga Khan Foundation funded the television series Architects on the Frontline which was about entries to the competition. The media watchdog Ofcom criticised BBC World News for breaking United Kingdom broadcasting rules with the series, which praised the competition; viewers were not informed that it was sponsored content.[8]

Award cyclesEdit

Prizes totalling up to US$ 1m, constituting the largest architectural award in the world,[1] are presented every three years to projects selected by the Master Jury.[3] Since 1977, documentation has been compiled on over 7500 building projects located throughout the world, of which over 100 projects have received awards.[9]

First (1978-1980)Edit

The 1980 award ceremony took place at the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, Pakistan. During this cycle, the Chairman's Award was given to Hassan Fathy in recognition of his lifelong commitment to architecture in the Muslim world. Prominent architect Muzharul Islam was a member of the Master Jury of the first Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Award recipients:[10]

Second (1981-1983)Edit

The 1983 award ceremony took place at the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul. Award recipients:[11]

Third (1984-1986)Edit

The 1986 award ceremony took place at El Badi Palace in Marrakesh, Morocco. The brief prepared by the Steering Committee for this award cycle focused on the preservation and continuation of cultural heritage, community building and social housing, and excellence in contemporary architectural expression.

Six winners were chosen from among 213 entries.[12] The conservation of Mostar Old Town and restoration of Al-Aqsa Mosque were examples of cultural heritage, the first theme, while the Yama Mosque and Bhong Mosque were noted for their innovation in translating traditional techniques and materials to meet contemporary requirements. The Social Security Complex and Dar Lamane Housing address the issues of community and social housing while remaining sensitive to local culture. The Chairman's Award for Lifetime Achievements was given to Iraqi architect Rifat Chadirji.

Award recipients:[13]

Fourth (1987-1989)Edit

The 1989 award ceremony took place at the Citadel of Salah Ed-Din in Cairo. The fourth cycle of the award considered 241 project nominations. Of these, 32 were short-listed for technical review[15] and the Master Jury selected 11 winners. Two themes were noted as areas of focus in this cycle: Revival of past vernacular traditions, and projects that reflect the efforts of individual patrons and of non-governmental organisations in improving society.

Projects such as the Great Omari Mosque and the Rehabilitation of Asilah seek to reconstruct and preserve heritage buildings for continued use, demonstrating the significance of these spaces within their communities. Meanwhile, the Grameen Bank Housing Programme and Sidi el-Aloui Primary School apply architectural solutions to address current socioeonomic issues.

Award recipients:[16]

Fifth (1990-1992)Edit

The 1992 award ceremony took place at the Registan Square in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Uzbek government also released a postal stamp to commemorate the award ceremony & restoration of Registan Square in Partnership with Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India

Award recipients:[17]

Sixth (1993-1995)Edit

The 1995 award ceremony took place at the Kraton Surakarta in Surakarta, Indonesia.

Kaédi Regional Hospital

Award recipients:[18]

Seventh (1996-1998)Edit

The 1998 award ceremony took place at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. The Master Jury selected seven winning projects of the 424 presented. During this cycle, special emphasis was placed on projects that responded creatively to the emerging forces of globalization. Issues such as demographic pressure, environmental degradation, and the crisis of the nation-state, and the changes in lifestyle, cultural values, and relationships among social groups and between governments and people at large they prompted, were considered.

Of the winning projects, the rehabilitation of Hebron Old Town and Slum Networking of Indore City sought to reclaim community space in environments strained by social, physical and environmental degradation. The Lepers Hospital created a sustainable and dignified shelter for a marginalized segment of society. The remaining projects were recognized for their contribution in evolving an architectural vocabulary in response to contemporary social and environmental challenges.[20]

Alhamra Arts Council

Award recipients:[21]

Eighth (1999-2001)Edit

Nubian Museum, Aswan

The 2001 Award Presentation Ceremony took place at the Citadel of Aleppo in Syria. During this cycle, the Chairman's Award was given to Geoffrey Bawa to honour and celebrate his lifetime achievements in and contribution to the field of architecture.

Award recipients:[23]

Ninth (2002-2004)Edit

The 2004 award ceremony took place at the Humayun's Tomb in New Delhi, India. During the ninth cycle, 378 projects were nominated. Of these, 23 were site-reviewed, and the Master Jury selected seven award recipients.[24] Notable among the recipients are the Sandbag Shelter Prototypes, developed by Nader Khalili to enable victims of natural disasters and war to build their own shelter using earth-filled sandbags and barbed wire. The resulting structures - made up of arches, domes and vaulted spaces built using superadobe techniques - provide earthquake resistance, shelter from hurricanes and flood resistance, while being aesthetically pleasing.[25]

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur

Other winning projects include a primary school in Gando, Burkina Faso, that combines high-caliber architectural design with local materials, techniques and community participation. The Bibliotheca Alexandria in Egypt and the Petronas Towers in Malaysia are examples of high-profile landmark buildings.

Award recipients:[26]

Tenth (2005-2007)Edit

The 2007 Award Presentation Ceremony was held at the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This cycle marked the 30th anniversary of the award. A total of 343 projects were presented for consideration, and 27 were reviewed on site by international experts.[28]

The award recipients were:[29]

Eleventh (2008-2010)Edit

Wadi Hanifa

The 2010 Award Presentation Ceremony was held at the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha. A total of 401 projects were nominated of which 19 were shortlisted.[30]

The Chairman's Award went to Oleg Grabar.[7]

The award recipients were:[31]

Twelfth (2011-2013)Edit

Tabriz Bazaar

20 projects were shortlisted for the ceremony held in Lisbon in September 2013.[9][33]

The winning projects are:[34][35]

Thirteenth (2014-2016)Edit

A total of 348 projects from 69 countries have been nominated. The winners are:[38]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Aga Khan Award for Architecture Archived 2012-02-10 at the Wayback Machine." ArchitectureWeek 9 Jan. 2002.
  2. ^ ^Canadian Architect, April 26, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Aga Khan Award for Architecture announces Master Jury for 2007 - Canadian Architect". 12 January 2007.
  4. ^ Lifetime Achievements of Hassan Fathy Archived February 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Lifetime Achievements of Rifat Chadirji Archived February 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Lifetime Achievements of Geoffrey Bawa Archived February 19, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b "Speech by Oleg Grabar, Recipient of the 2010 Chairman's Award - Aga Khan Development Network".
  8. ^ "News channels breached sponsorship rules, Ofcom says". BBC News. 18 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Twenty projects shortlisted for $1-million Aga Khan Award for Architecture - Canadian Architect". 11 May 2013.
  10. ^ "1980 Cycle - Aga Khan Development Network". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
  11. ^ "1983 Cycle - Aga Khan Development Network".
  12. ^ "The Changing Present, Loughran, G., Saudi Aramco World, Nov/Dec 1987: 28-37". Archived from the original on 29 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-06.
  13. ^ "1986 Cycle - Aga Khan Development Network".
  14. ^ (AKTC) Archived February 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine (ArchNet) Archived February 8, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Better by Design, Loughran, G., Saudi Aramco World, Nov/Dec 1989: 28-33". Archived from the original on 29 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-06.
  16. ^ "1989 Cycle - Aga Khan Development Network".
  17. ^ "1992 Cycle - Aga Khan Development Network".
  18. ^ "1995 Cycle - Aga Khan Development Network".
  19. ^ "Aranya Community Housing - Aga Khan Development Network".
  20. ^ Cynthia C. Davidson, ed. (1999). Legacies for the Future: Contemporary Architecture in Islamic Societies. New York: Thames and Hudson Ltd. ISBN 0-500-28087-8.
  21. ^ "1998 Cycle - Aga Khan Development Network".
  22. ^ Vidhan Bhavan, (ArchNet) Archived 2006-02-08 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "2001 Cycle - Aga Khan Development Network".
  24. ^ "Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2004 - Architecture & Urbanism magazine, No. 78/79, Autumn/Winter 2005, Tehran". Archived from the original on 2 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-06.
  25. ^ "Sandbag Shelters - Aga Khan Development Network".
  26. ^ 2004 Cycle Awards Recipients Archived May 21, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ See more construction images in Wikimedia Commons
  28. ^ "Nine Projects Receive 2007 Aga Khan Award for Archicture" (Press release). Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). 4 September 2007. Archived from the original on 10 September 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  29. ^ "2007 Cycle - Aga Khan Development Network".
  30. ^ Jenna M. McKnight: Revealed: Winners of 2010 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, in the Architectural Record, November 24, 2010, retrieved 1 December 2010
  31. ^ "2010 Cycle - Aga Khan Development Network".
  32. ^ Article on the project by the architects, Enrique Sobejano and Fuensanta Nieto
  33. ^ World Architecture News, retrieved 6 May 2013
  34. ^ Cathleen McGuigan: "Aga Khan Awards Go to Projects that Build Community", in The Architectural Record, 6 September 2013
  35. ^ Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2013 Cycle Award Recipients
  36. ^, Idea Futura srl -. "Emergency - Sito Ufficiale - Home".
  37. ^ "The Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery - Home page".
  38. ^ Anna Fixsen: "BIG, Zaha Hadid Architects Among 2016 Aga Khan Award Recipients" in Architectural Record, 3 October 2016


Further readingEdit

External linksEdit