Credit: Ivan Petrov
Winners of prestigious Aga Khan architecture award announced
The winners of the Aga Khan prize for architecture have been announced, with six projects from Bahrain, Bangladesh, the West Bank, the Russian Republic of Tatarstan, Senegal and the United Arab Emirates awarded a share of the top prize.
Twenty projects from 16 countries had been shortlisted for the prestigious award, which is worth $1 million and seeks to "identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence."
Among the winners is a wasteland converted into wetlands in the UAE.
The Wasit Wetland Center in Sharjah has restored ecosystems and provided a place for people to learn about local birds and their natural environment.
The Arcadia Education Project in Bangladesh, designed by Saif Ul Haque Sthapati, is a bamboo structure incorporating a pre-school, hostel, nursery and vocational training center. The area floods for up to five months of the year, but the amphibious structure adapts to the riverine site that it is built on, and can sit on the ground or rise with water levels and float, depending on the seasonal conditions.
The Alioune Diop University Teaching and Research Unit in Bambey, Senegal, makes the most of "bioclimatic strategies", including a heat reflective roof, a large double roof canopy and latticework that encourages airflow and avoids solar radiation -- perfect for the region, where temperatures can exceed 104°F.
In the Republic of Tatarstan, 328 public spaces have been improved and developed for local people across 33 villages, 42 towns and two major cities -- including ponds, embankments, parks, boulevards, squares, and walkways.
The Palestinian Museum in Birzeit was built to both celebrate Palestinian heritage and foster "dialogue and tolerance."
The building, and its zigzagging dry-stone levels, have been constructed to complement the area's surrounding agricultural terraces.
In Bahrain, architects and planners worked to preserve and restore traditional buildings in Muharraq, the former capital, and while simultaneously introducing "bold contemporary architectural statements" with new structures. The project worked to create public spaces in the former pearling town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, providing and restoring community and cultural venues.
Established in 1977 and awarded every three years, the prize recognizes examples of architecture that champion community improvement, historic preservation, design and conservation.