Son of Prince Aly Khan and Princess Tajuddawlah Aly Khan, the Aga Khan was born on 13 December 1936, in Geneva. He spent his early childhood in Nairobi, Kenya, and then attended Le Rosey School in Switzerland for nine years. He graduated from Harvard University in 1959 with a BA Honors Degree in Islamic history.
His Highness the Aga Khan, the founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), is the 49th hereditary Imam (Spiritual Leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. For His Highness the Aga Khan, one manifestation of his hereditary responsibilities has been a deep engagement with development for almost 60 years.
Over 9,000 building projects have been documented and are now available on archnet.org. They range from rural schools to urban water towers, from state-of-the-art skyscrapers to modest mud-brick structures.
116 projects have received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture over the last 40 years, often anticipating innovations, such as green buildings, or reflecting architectural discourse, such as a return to human scale.
As of 2017, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture will be 40 years old, making it the oldest major award in the field.