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Renewed Confidence in Muslim Architecture: Aga Khan Award for Architecture Concludes with Seminar


Agra, India, 29 November 2004 - A full-day seminar held today in Agra concluded the 2004 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. The seminar provides a unique opportunity for participants and the public alike to discuss the merits of the winning projects as well as to deliberate on the state of architecture in Muslim societies and its future.

In his concluding remarks, His Highness the Aga Khan noted that the vacuum which existed 27 years ago when the Award was initiated no longer existed today. “What worried me,” said the Aga Khan, “was that things were happening without debate. Exemplars were not known as to the sorts of issues that had to be addressed. Today, winners have shown that the central issues of building the human habitat can be analysed, can be thought through, can be reinvested in cultures, which may have lost their identity”.

“As we move forward it is important for us to accept that we are a community of people interested in building environments for Muslims in different parts of the world,” the Aga Khan said. “We are looking at creating inspiring value systems which our societies and our professionals will be able to look to and to say to themselves, with these value systems we can move forwards in trust and confidence because we have an understanding of the kind of environment we wish to have.”

This year’s recipients are diverse in scope and geographic location. They include the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a library in Alexandria, Egypt; a Primary School in Gando, Burkina Faso; sandbag shelters; the restoration of Al-Abbas Mosque in Asnaf, Yemen; the Old City of Jerusalem Revitalisation Programme in Jerusalem; a summer home in Ayvacik, Turkey as well as the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is organised on the basis of a three-year cycle governed by a Steering Committee chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan. The Steering Committee is responsible for the selection of a Master Jury appointed for each Award. This year, members of the Steering Committee, included various eminent personalities from the architecture and design world.

On the 27th November 2004, India’s Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and His Highness the Aga Khan announced the seven recipients of the 2004 Aga Khan Award for Architecture at a ceremony in the gardens of Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi. The following day, in Agra, India’s Department of Posts issued two postage stamps and first day covers to commemorate the Award.

Contact:
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture
PO Box 2049
1211 Geneva 2
Switzerland
Facsimile: +41 22 909 72 92
Telephone: +41.22 909 72 00
E-mail: akaa@akdn.ch

The Department of Public Affairs
Aiglemont
60270 Gouvieux, France
Telephone: +33.3.44.58.40.00
Fax: +33.3.44.58.42.79
E-mail: information@aiglemont.org

Notes:
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established by the Aga Khan in 1977 to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of Islamic societies. The Award recognises examples of architectural excellence throughout the Islamic world in the fields of contemporary design, social housing, community improvement and development, restoration, reuse and area conservation, as well as landscape design and improvement of the environment.

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies whose mandates range from the fields of health and education to architecture, rural development and the promotion of private-sector enterprise. They collaborate in working towards a common goal-building institutions and programmes that can respond to the challenges of social, economic and cultural change on an ongoing basis. Active in over 20 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America, the Network’s underlying impulse is the ethic of compassion for the vulnerable in society and its agencies and institutions work for the common good of all citizens, regardless of origin, gender or religion.

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