By The Citizen Reporter
Dar es Salaam.The Aga Khan Award for Architecture would be doubled to $1 million (Sh1.6bn), it has been learnt. According to a statement released by the Agha Khan Development Network (AKDN), his Highness the Aga Khan said doubling of the Award was meant to assist and support the recipients, many of whom are not well-known or well-funded architects or urban planners.
“One of key aspects of the Award is that winners should be able to reposition their future with the support they get from the Award, both professionally and institutionally,” said the Agha Khan on the occasion of the announcement.
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is given every three years to projects that set new standards of excellence in architecture, planning practices, historical preservation and landscape architecture. The next prize will be awarded in 2013. Nominations for the Award are now being accepted and will run until 15 September 2012.
The Award, says the statement, seeks projects that represent the broadest possible range of architectural interventions, with particular attention given to building schemes that use local resources and appropriate technology in innovative ways, and those that are likely to inspire similar efforts globally. The projects must successfully address the needs and aspirations of societies in which Muslims have a significant presence.
In recent cycles, the Award has encouraged the submission of projects which improve public spaces and which tackle the issues of rural societies and communities on the peripheries of urban centres as well as industrial buildings that provide a quality environment for employees.
Recent recipients of the Award include well-known architects such as Norman Foster and Cesar Pelli, but also municipalities, master masons and clients. In 2010, the five recipients of the triennial prize were: a school integrated into a bridge in Xiashi, Fujian, China, the Wadi Hanifa Wetlands in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the Ipekyol Textile Factory in Edirne, Turkey, the Madinat al-Zahra Museum in Cordoba, Spain and the Revitalisation of the Hypercentre of Tunis, Tunisia. Other projects that have received the Award since its first ceremony in 1980 include a slum networking project in Indore, India, the Central Market of Koudougou, Burkina Faso and the National Assembly building in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, recently paid a brief visit to Dushanbe, Asia-Plus learnt from the presidential press service. Sitora Shokamolova, Communications Officer, Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe said that His Highness the Aga Khan who is founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) met with Tajik Head President Emomali Rahmon. In the course of talks, the sides discussed current and planned projects of AKDN in Tajikistan.
They noted that the majority of AKDN-sponsored projects being implemented in Tajikistan are of regional significance and peoples of Afghanistan and other Central Asia’s nations are also benefiting from those projects. They also discussed a number of national and regional problems as well as opportunities for further expansion of cooperation. In the course of the talks, His Highness the Aga Khan expressed gratitude to President Emomali Rahmon for an official registration of the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe that is graphic evidence of freedom of religion and tolerance in the country, the source said. The sides were pleased with the results of a long-term cooperation on enhancement of sectors like education, health, communications, culture and energy as wells social protection of the population in Tajikistan.
It should be noted that AKDN is a group of development agencies with mandates that include the environment, health, education, architecture, culture, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, the promotion of private-sector enterprise and the revitalisation of historic cities. AKDN agencies conduct their programs without regard to faith, origin or gender.