The prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture is given to exemplary projects which “successfully address the needs and aspirations of societies across the world, in which Muslims have a significant presence.” This year the prize was given to six stunning projects that helped in enhancing understanding and appreciation of Islamic culture using the magnificence of architecture and design. The six of them were picked out of 19 candidates, and each of them will win a $1 million dollar prize.
Friendship Centre by Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury
The design is inspired by Bangladesh’s oldest urban archaeological sites. URBANA founder and Bangladeshi architect Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury is behind the design, and the friendship centre was created originally for an NGO that works for the local impoverished population. The building is naturally ventilated, with green roofs constructed using local hand-made bricks giving an ancient Mughal era aesthetic. The building is also flood and earthquake proof courtesy a rammed earth embankment and a water run-off pumping facility.
Hutong Children’s Library & Art Centre by ZAO/standardarchitecture / Zhang Ke
This small and quiet nine-square-meter children’s public library is situated near a mosque just one kilometer from Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. The building was created using concrete mixed with Chinese ink as well as recycled gray brick and warm plywood. And instead of razing an old building at the location of library,it was built beneath the pitched roof of that building in a bid to preserve and strengthen the Hutong architecture and lifestyles.
Superkilen by BIG and Superflex
The park comprises of three areas: the ‘Red Square,’ the ‘Black Market,’ and the ‘Green Park. As the name suggests, the kilometer-long park located in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro district, aims to celebrate the diversity of the area, and is an attempt to alleviate the social challenges present in the Danish capital. Symbols of global cultures like neon signs from Qatar and Russia and bollards from Ghana adorn the area, which has over 60 nationalities present along with great play spaces and recreational zones.
Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge by Diba Tensile Architecture / Leila Araghian, Alireza Behzadi
The Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge in Tehran is not only for the cars. The bridge contains a pathway to connect two parks, and offers the public recreational and resting places. The concept was conceived by Diba Tensile Architecture, and the 270-meter-long curved pedestrian bridge is used by people to meet, eat, and rest. Adorned with green spaces, seating capacities, kiosks, and a beautiful surrounding view, this bridge has become a very popular public destination.
Bait Ur Rouf Mosque by Marina Tabassum
Bait Ur Rouf Mosque has become a chandelier for the city of Dhaka, courtesy its unique build and design. Architect Marina Tabassum made the mosque to honor her late grandmother’s desire. The 754-square-meter structure has been built entirely with locally produced bricks. But its beauty comes from the fact that due to the requirement of it being aligned the qibla direction, the site presented a challenging 13-degree angle which was ingeniously solved by inserting a cylindrical volume inside the building. Natural ventilation and lighting occurs due to the perforations in the roof and walls.
Issam Fares Institute by Zaha Hadid Architects
The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs was the result of the genius of Zaha Hadid. The 3,000-square-meter building is situated in American University of Beirut, and is a symbol to promote neutral, dynamic, and civil relationship between different and diverse groups. The magnificent six-story concrete building uses a 21-meter-long cantilever which has been designed to reduce the building’s footprint.
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