Page N1.2 . 09 January 2002                     
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    Aga Khan Award for Architecture


    The Urban Development and Revitalization Corporation (UDRC), in co-operation with the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization, now has more than 30 projects in 21 cities.

    One of the most creative examples has been the transformation of the historic Vazir Bathhouse, in Isfahan, into the Centre for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults. The high vault of the bathhouse's dressing room, or bineh, has become a library, while the adjacent steam room, or garmkhaneh, now serves as a play and reading area.

    More intimate spaces that originally housed pools, or khazineh, provide a setting for art lessons, and a ramp, traditionally used to lead animals to draw water from the well, has been ingeniously transformed into a small auditorium. Quarry tiles with glazed tile inserts are laid in patterns that enable the children to play games, and traditional small glass skylights in the domes provide natural lighting. UDRC projects have brought new life to the urban centers of Iran, improving living conditions, revitalizing architectural character, renewing appreciation of a rich cultural heritage, and stimulating private-sector awareness of the financial as well as social returns investment in a country's delicate historic fabric can bring.

    The Awards

    Founded in 1977 to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of Islamic societies, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture is recognized internationally for its innovative character. The program has a triennial prize fund of US$500,000, making it the world's largest architectural award.

    Circumstances have given this year's award an unforeseen meaning, but one that is consistent with the its traditions. The program has always represented a humanistic Islam, dedicated to principles of tolerance, self-reliance, social responsibility, and critical inquiry. The projects receiving the award embody these values, and do so within Islamic societies stretching halfway across the globe, from Guinea to Malaysia.

    The other award winners were At Iktel, Abadou, Morocco; Kahere Eila Poultry Farming School, Koliagbe, Guinea; Olbia Social Centre, Antalya, Turkey; Bagh-e-Ferdowsi, Tehran, Iran; and Datai Hotel, Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia. An independent jury selected the nine award recipients from 427 entrants.

    A future issue of ArchitectureWeek will profile the work of Chairman's Award winner Geoffrey Bawa, whose buildings have influenced architects throughout the world for over 40 years.

    The jury included Darab Diba, architect (Tehran); Abdou Filali-Ansary, social scientist (Casablanca); Dogan Hasol, architect and publisher (Istanbul); Mona Hatoum, artist (London); Zahi Hawass, archaeologist (Cairo); Ricardo Legorreta, architect (Mexico City and Los Angeles); Glenn Murcutt, architect (Sydney); Norani Othman, sociologist (Kuala Lumpur); and Raj Rewal, architect (New Delhi).

    A monograph on the 2001 Award, Modernity and Community: Architecture in the Islamic World, from Thames & Hudson, will include full descriptions and illustrations of the nine winning projects.



    ArchWeek Image

    Under Iran's award-winning Urban Development and Revitalization program, historic buildings are acquired, restored, and adapted for reuse.
    Photo: Kamran Adle

    ArchWeek Image

    UDRC projects have brought new life to the urban centers of Iran, improving living conditions, and revitalizing architectural character.
    Photo: Kamran Adle

    ArchWeek Image

    UDRC projects stimulate private sector awareness of the financial as well as social returns of adaptively reusing historic structures.
    Photo: Kamran Adle

    ArchWeek Image

    Returned emigrant villagers, working with those who remained, have brought infrastructure and a new school to the village of At Iktel, Morocco.
    Photo: Myriam Belhoussein

    ArchWeek Image

    The Kahere Eila Poultry Farming School, by Heikkinen-Komonen Architects, combines Nordic and local Guinean traditions.
    Photo: Onerra Utriainen

    ArchWeek Image

    The Olbia Social Center, Turkey, by Cengiz Bektas, fuses contemporary architectural elements with local materials in a university gathering space with an intimate human scale.
    Photo: Cemal Emden

    ArchWeek Image

    A reinterpretation of the traditional Persian "paradise" garden, Bagh-e-Ferdowsi, an urban park in Tehran by Baft-e-Shahr Consulting Architects and Urban Planners, promotes conservation awareness.
    Photo: Nigel Shafran

    ArchWeek Image

    The Datai Hotel in Malaysia, by Kerry Hill Architects, takes an ecological approach to coastal development.
    Photo: Alber Lim


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