Aga Khan Award for Architecture

Jury Citation: 2001

Ferdowsi Garden 
This project has been chosen for its innovative approach to environmental design, which limits urban development and promotes an awareness of conservation and nature amongst the urban population of Tehran. As a setting for outdoor recreational and cultural pursuits, the park provides spaces for contemplation, family recreation and social interaction, and for the appreciation of local culture and entertainment. Imaginative use of materials, playful sculptures and indigenous landscaping drawn on the best traditions of garden design in the region. In an age of global consumer culture, with the spread of stifling and homogenous urban forms, this "nature-urban" public park constitutes a refreshing and welcome change.
New Life for Old Structures
The project has received Award for helping to promote sustainable urban regeneration within the wider scope of national urban development, rescuing structures and important traditional typologies from demolition and deterioration. In a number of successful interventions in several historical Iranian cities, the program has attempted to preserve the country's unique built heritage through the adaptive reuse of private and public spaces. This has acted as a catalyst for the introduction of new alternatives that respond to the social needs of contemporary life in historical urban areas. The program also aims to create economically viable solutions and to meet the needs of younger generations.
Olbia Social Center
This project has been given Award for its intimate human scale, its function as a bridge between several architectural styles and geographic areas of an existing university campus, and its innovative fusion of contemporary architectural elements with local materials. In addition, the complex creates an attractive place, where students and teachers can meet and exchange ideas. The spaces themselves meet and flow into one another with pleasant effect and a series of changing perspectives. The use of water and other symbolic, historical and cultural elements is remarkable, the more so because these references do not merely imitate but, instead, permit new connections to the past. This project's human, social and cultural elements provide examples of ways for today's architects to look deeper into their own cultures.
Nubian Museum
The museum has been cited for Award for its success in integrating the past, present and future by creating in a single building an educational institution, dedicated to Nubian history, a contemporary focus for the revival of Nubian culture and a museum designed to promote and preserve cultural artifacts for the future. Built to save the archeological remains of the area flooded by the Aswan High Dam, the museum was chosen for the high quality of its construction materials and its attention to details. The building also successfully adapts local architectural styles without imitating them. The appropriate scale and choice of materials create a building that is stylistically integrated into the city of Aswan. Nubian monuments in the surrounding gardens have made the museum a center for community life. As an educational resource, both for local residents and the international community, it saves the Nubian culture for present and future generations.
Ait Iktel
This project has received Award, because it exemplifies a new approach to development, environmental conservation and the improvement of living conditions for rural populations. The success of the project was based on mobilizing the experience of emigrant villagers, who brought back expertise after living in modern urban context, joining hands with those who remained in order to take charge of their own destiny. As a result, old buildings are now cared for and new installations have been added to provide basic services as a water supply network, electricity and education facilities. The cooperation between the villagers has enhanced daily life with preserving the traditions of this isolated and poor population. The success of the project makes it an example for the entire region, bringing hope to rural communities throughout the Islamic world and reinforcing their determination to improve their own lives.
Kahere Eila Poultry Farming School
This project has received Award, because it draws on traditional local planning relationships, with a courtyard dominated by a central tree articulating teaching and accommodation spaces. The complex is adjusted to the conditions of the tropical climate: technologies re simple, including locally made stabilized earth-blocks, woven split-cane panel ceiling and pigmented concrete floors and roof tiles. Sophisticated structural elements, columns and trusses, are made of composite timber and metal, strengthening the materials available to local craftsmen. The architecture uses a deceptively simple language and it is distinguished by clarity of form and appropriateness of scale. The solution is a fine example of an elegantly humble yet modern architecture that successfully crosses the boundaries of local Guinean and Nordic traditions and , in the process, avoid mimicry.
Datai Hotel
This project has received Award for its ecological approach to coastal development through sensitive sitting of its buildings away from the beachfront and careful adaptation to the prevailing topography, vegetation and climate in such a way as to allow nature to reclaim the terrain after construction. It features a lively integration of interior and exterior, encouraging the enjoyment of nature, as well as architecture. Also of particular interest are the creation of spaces with elegant proportions, its excellence in details, the sensitive selection of materials and the very good use of natural light. The project attains a level of quality, both in terms of materials and experiences, that is rarely achieved in tourist developments. It is a successful combination of talent, stylistic refinement, attention to details, traditional forms and materials and the rigor of modern architecture.
Barefoot Architects
This program of works was given Award for its integration of social, ecological, cultural and educational elements in such a way as to aid rural development, while promoting the architectural traditions of the region. The Barefoot College comprises a unique experiment in employing rural people to implement local social-aid programs. Its utilization and improvement of the practical construction skills of villagers had led to the creation of buildings that enhance the vernacular tradition of the region. As a result, Barefoot Architects, local people with no formal trading, have been able to build a college campus with buildings that combine advanced techniques and traditional building materials, using sustainable technologies, such as rainwater harvesting and solar power. The architects have been able to apply and spread their skills in the surrounding community, installing rainwater harvesting systems in local schools and building two hundred new homes, to upgrade rural living conditions.
SOS Children's Village
This project has received Award for creating a pleasant and attractive environment scaled to the needs of children. The aim of the village is to provide care for orphans in family houses, rather than in a large, impersonal institutions. Its well-defined layout creates generates communal outdoor areas, shaded courtyards and gardens. These spaces serve a safe and calm playgrounds for the children and form desirable oasis within the arid, desert surroundings. The thoughtful and integrated architecture is a sober, modern interpretation of vernacular traditions, employing locally available building materials. Culturally and aesthetically, it sets a precedent for the creation of a new architecture that looks to the future and acknowledges the past.
Aga Khan Award for Architecture
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