Page N4.4. 02 February 2011                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
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Aga Khan Award Finalists


Project: Restoration of Rubber Smokehouse
Location: Lunas, Kedah, Malaysia
Architect: Laurence K.Y. Loh
Client: DIGI Telecommunications
Design Date: 2006-2007
Completion Date: 2007
Built Area: 340 square meters (3,700 square feet)

Located in the small town of Lunas, in Kedah district near Penang, the Rubber Smokehouse stands as an example of Malaysia's industrial heritage — specifically, the rubber industry, which played a key role in Malaysia's economy for much of the 20th century.

The smokehouse was transformed from an abandoned and forgotten building into an important part of the town's landscape and a focus for the rural community. Sponsored by a local telecommunications company, the project was led by the architect Laurence Loh, whose family is originally from Lunas.

The preservation project brought together the different communities living in the area, and engaged Malaysian schoolchildren, who were charged with mapping and documenting a cultural history of their home.

Project: Nishorgo Oirabot Nature Interpretation Centre
Location: Teknaf, Bangladesh
Architect: Vitti Sthapati Brindo Ltd/ Ehsan Khan
Client: Md. Ishtiaque Ahmed, Ministry of Environment & Forests Bon Bhaban
Design Date: 2006
Completion Date: 2008
Built Area: 288 square meters (3,100 square feet)

The main objectives of this center, located in a protected forest and nature reserve in Chittagong District, in the south of Bangladesh, are nature education and interpretive tours to increase public awareness and promote biodiversity, conservation, and eco-tourism.

"Nishorgo" means environment in Bengali, and the central concept driving the project is to cherish the sanctity of nature. The building itself is sensitively placed within the landscape: the reinforced concrete platforms of the "pavilion shelter" float above the ground on structural walls, and the concrete slabs are pierced by tree trunks where necessary.

Visitors walk up the layers of platforms to a raised level to observe the surroundings. An exhibit area is enveloped in a compositional arrangement of openings framed by wooden lattices, and there is a film-viewing space with walls of exposed burnt-clay brick.

Project: Dowlat II Residential Complex
Location: Tehran, Iran
Architect: Arsh Design Studio
Client: Ali Nazemian
Design Date: 2005-2006
Completion Date: 2007
Built Area: 535 square meters (5,760 square feet)

This project counters the two-dimensional facade and level, open-plan floors of the typical Tehran midrise.

The facade — a wooden grid — is punctured with a variety of openings that extend the building's volume beyond the main envelope and allow unpredictable configurations dictated by the preferences of the inhabitants.

Each apartment is split-level, allowing the creation of an accessible roof garden. The responsive building also adds a sense of excitement to the public streetscape.

The architects see this design strategy as one that could be adapted to a number of similar sites to enable the creation of well-designed living spaces that can be modified according to clients' needs, using local materials and technologies, without significant cost premiums.

Project: American University of Beirut Campus
Location: Beirut, Lebanon
Planners: Sasaki Associates with Machado and Silvetti Associates
Client: American University of Beirut
Design Date: 2001-2002
Completion Date: 2007/ ongoing
Built Area: 240,000 square meters (2.6 million square feet)

The master plan for the American University of Beirut was developed to shape and guide the development of the university's century-old campus over the next 20 years.

Situated on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean, the existing campus consists of more than 80 academic, residential, and administrative buildings, primarily of neo-Moorish and modern design, that represent different eras of architectural development.

The master plan provides architectural, landscape, and urban design guidelines to serve the existing and future needs of the university.

The plan articulates an integrative landscape plan that demonstrates a subtle use of topographical conditions to enhance the existing landscaping, in particular that of the green and wooded middle campus at the heart of the university.

Pedestrians have replaced cars almost everywhere, with roads giving way to promenades, plazas, and new green spaces.


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ArchWeek Image

A rubber smokehouse in Lunas, Malaysia, before (left) and after (right) a restoration designed by Laurence K.Y. Loh.
Photo: L.L. Loh-Lim (left)/ Badan Warisan Malaysia (right) Extra Large Image

ArchWeek Image

The rubber smoking room before restoration.
Photo: Aga Khan Award for Architecture / L.L. Loh-Lim Extra Large Image

ArchWeek Image

The Nishorgo Oirabot Nature Interpretation Centre in Teknaf, Bangladesh, was designed by Vitti Sthapati Brindo Ltd.
Photo: Aga Khan Award for Architecture/ BKS Inan Extra Large Image

ArchWeek Image

The concrete-slab roof of the Nishorgo Oirabot Nature Interpretation Centre accommodates existing trees standing adjacent to the building.
Photo: Aga Khan Award for Architecture/ BKS Inan Extra Large Image

ArchWeek Image

The Dowlat II Residential Complex is a narrow five-story apartment building in suburban Tehran, Iran.
Photo: Aga Khan Award for Architecture/ Wael Samhouri Extra Large Image

ArchWeek Image

Arsh Design Studio designed the Dowlat II Residential Complex.
Photo: Aga Khan Award for Architecture/ Wael Samhouri Extra Large Image

ArchWeek Image

Sasaki Associates designed a new master plan for the American University of Beirut with Machado and Silvetti Associates. Pictured: The campus entrance, built in 1866.
Photo: Aga Khan Award for Architecture/ Yasser Mahgoub Extra Large Image

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The American University of Beirut campus includes the recent Charles Hostler Student Center, which was named one of the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects for 2009 and also received a 2009 AIA Institute Honor Award.
Photo: Paul Crosby Extra Large Image


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