Five projects win Aga Khan award for architecture

 The Emir of Qatar (the state on the east coast of the Arabian Peninsula) joined the Aga Khan in presiding over the function.

The selected projects included the Wadi Hanifa wetlands in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; the revitalisation of the Hypercentre of Tunis, in Tunisia; the Madinat Al-Zahra Museum in Cordoba, Spain; the Ipekyol Textile Factory at Edirne, Turkey and the Bridge School at Xiashi in Fujian province, China.

The 19 nominees on the shortlist for the award, announced at the end of May 2010, included an Indian project – Palmyrah House at Alibagh, near Mumbai, a two-storey timber house built as a weekend retreat on coastal agricultural land facing the sea, which was completed in  2007. This project, however, did not figure among the five eventually selected for the 2010 Aga Khan award by an independent master jury (of nine members) appointed by the steering committee for each three-year award cycle.

Established in 1977

The Aga Khan award for architecture was established in 1977 to identify and encourage excellence in architecture and other forms of intervention in the built environment of societies where followers of Islam have a significant presence. The award, given every three years, recognises all types of building projects, from modest small-scale projects to sizable complexes.

At the recent award ceremony in Doha, the Aga Khan presented the Chairman’s Award to Professor Oleg Grabar, a renowned scholar and teacher, in recognition of his lifetime contribution to the field of Islamic art and architecture. The Chairman’s award was established to honour achievements that fall outside the scope of the master jury’s mandate and in recognition of the lifetime achievements of distinguished architects and academics. It has been presented on only three previous occasions.

Born in France in 1929, Prof Grabar taught at the University of Michigan and at Harvard University, where he was a Professor of Fine Arts and then the first Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture. In 1990, he retired from Harvard, where he continues to be an Emeritus professor, to become a professor at the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is currently an Emeritus professor at the Institute.   

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