Winners of the 2013 Aga Khan Awards for Architecture announced

in Afghan Business

Winners of the 2013 Aga Khan Awards for Architecture announced

aga khan award winnersHis Excellency AníbalCavaco Silva, President of the Portuguese Republic, and His Highness the Aga Khan presented the Aga Khan Awards for Architecture at the Castle of São Jorge in Lisbon on September 6.

The five winning projects are:

Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery, Khartoum, Sudan: The Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery, which consists of a hospital with 63 beds, serves over 50,000 patients per year, drawing from a catchment area in eastern Africa of over 300 million people. The welcoming architecture “provides an exemplary prototype for the region as well as for the field”, remarked the Master Jury in their citation. The Centre meets the high technical demands of a hospital with complex functions, including three operating theatres, while providing a number of eco-friendly solutions to common problems. Mixed modes of ventilation and natural light enable all spaces to be homely and intimate. In addition to solar panels and special insulation techniques, the architects have reused 90 six- metre (20-foot) containers that had been discarded after being used to transport construction materials for the Centre.

Revitalisation of Birzeit Historic Centre, Birzeit, Palestine: The five-year project, which will eventually encompass 50 villages, is part of a rehabilitation master plan initiated by the Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation. The project has transformed the decaying town of Birzeit, creating employment and reviving traditional crafts. The Master Jury remarked that the project brought together “stakeholders and local craftsmen into a process of healing that is not merely physical but that is social, economic and political”. By focusing on towns and villages in the area under Palestinian civil authority – where an estimated 50 percent of the surviving historic structures are located and where most Palestinians live – Riwaqrealised that it could save much of the local heritage while at the same time having greatest significant socio-economic impact.

Rabat-Salé Urban Infrastructure Project, Morocco: Linking Rabat and Salé to form an urban hub, the project was born out of a new vision of large-scale regeneration, one in which improved transportation and mobility were to be priority components of the larger urban plan. The project combines exemplary bridge design, infrastructure improvement and urban planning. As a result, the Hassan II Bridge has become a new icon for Rabat-Salé, reinforcing a modern, progressive, twin-city identity. The Master Jury remarked that the project was “a sophisticated and cohesive model for future infrastructure projects, especially in places of rapid urbanisation”.

Rehabilitation of Tabriz Bazaar, Tabriz, Iran: With origins in the 10th century, the Tabriz Bazaar has long functioned as a main commercial centre for the city. But by the late 20th century, it had begun to deteriorate. To rehabilitate the structures, which cover 27 hectares and over 5.5 kilometres of covered bazaars, a management framework was established that involved the bazaar community, municipal authorities and the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organisation (ICHTO). During the pilot restoration project, the government contributed 85 percent of the financial coverage and the bazaar community contributed 15 percent; in subsequent stages, the bazaar community – convinced of the value of the restoration – provided up to 90 percent of the funding. The Master Jury found that the project was “a remarkable example of stakeholder coordination and cooperation to restore and revitalise a unique structure”. Since 2000, numerous complexes within the bazaar have been rehabilitated, infrastructure has been improved and public facilities have been built.

Islamic Cemetery, Altach, Austria: Until recently, some Muslims in Austria would send their dead back to their countries of origin for burial. But the desire of Muslims to be buried in the countries of their birth led to the creation of a multi-faith, multi-ethnic group of actors, including local authorities and an NGO, to create a cemetery where funeral rites could be administered locally. The design was lauded by the Award’s Master Jury for the way it realised “the wish of an immigrant community seeking to create a space that fulfils their spiritual aspirations and, at the same time, responds to the context of their adopted country”. Inspired by garden design, it features roseate concrete walls, five staggered, rectangular gravesite enclosures, and a structure housing assembly and prayer rooms. The principal materials used were exposed reinforced concrete for the walls and oak wood for the ornamentation of the entrance facade and the interior of the prayer space.

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture, which was established by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1977, is given every three years. It recognises all types of building projects that affect today’s built environment, from modest, small-scale projects to sizable complexes.

As this cycle’s recipients illustrate, 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” buildings – that not only exhibit architectural excellence but also improve the overall quality of life.

The US$ 1 million prize, which will be divided among the five recipients, does not necessarily go to the architect. The Award also identifies municipalities, builders, clients, master craftsmen and engineers who have played important roles in the realisation of a project. The Master Jury has the discretion to apportion the prize money however it sees fit.

Since the Award was launched 36 years ago, 110 projects have received the award and nearly 8000 building projects have been documented.

A school in Herat was shortlisted for the 2013 cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, but it did not make it in the list of the winners.

Built in honor of Italian journalist Maria Grazia Cutuli, murdered in Afghanistan in 2001, this school represents an alternative approach to emergency school design for war-torn areas. Like a small village, the complex is intended to resemble an unplanned juxtaposing of elements enclosed by a boundary wall. It accommodates eight classrooms, various staff accommodation, a double-height library and a garden which acts as a ‘green classroom’. Built of reinforced concrete with brick cladding, the structures are painted rather than rendered, to save costs. The walls’ range of blue tones reflects the ‘lapis lazuli’ pigment used on local pottery, while window frames are in contrasting red.

The innovative school was built as an homage to Maria Grazia Cutuli. The school’s designed is like a small walled village, giving students everything they need inside the complex, which not only helps to protect but is also necessary in the remote area.



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