Aga Khan Development Network

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The Fourth Award Cycle

Report of the Master Jury

Awards Recipients

Other Award Cycles


Awards 1987-1989

Great Omari Mosque, Sidon, LebanonGreat Omari Mosque, Sidon, Lebanon

Saleh Lamei-Mostafa, Cairo, Egypt

Department of Islamic Awqaf, Sidon, Lebanon

Rafiq al-Hariri, Paris, France

Completed in 1986


This late 13th-century mosque of the Bahri Mamluk period is the oldest standing in Sidon. Built on the remains of a Crusader fortress, the south wall is still braced by five sturdy Crusader buttresses, in stylistic and chronological juxtaposition to the minaret executed by the Ottomans in the second half of the 19th century. This outstanding monument was severely damaged by shellfire during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Its users, instead of building a new mosque, elected to restore their old one, the funds having been provided by a native son living in Paris. Assisting the architect in the thorough documentation of the structure was a team of architects and students from Beirut. The walls, piers, arches, vaults and domes that had been completely or partially destroyed were rebuilt, and an iron anchorage was placed in the minaret. The jury noted that this effort, was a "combination of human steadfastness in the face of tragedy, of restoration talent and inventiveness in particularly difficult circumstances, and of dedicated patronage and sacrifice that makes the reconstruction of the mosque a beacon in a tortured land and a sign of hope for the rebuilding of war torn nations."


Rehabilitation of Asilah, MoroccoRehabilitation of Asilah, Morocco

Al-Mouhit Cultural Association (Mohammed Benaïssa and Mohammed Melehi, Founding Members), Asilah, Morocco

Local Population and Asilah Municipality, Morocco

Completed in 1978


Asilah is an ancient coastal town founded in Phoenician times. Its defensive walls were built in the medieval period when it was a Portuguese trading post. Today it is a harbour, a market, a centre for cultural events and a summer resort. Protection of Asilah's architectural heritage began over 15 years ago with the efforts of the two founding patrons of the cultural association, and other interested intellectuals. The works they have restored and rehabilitated include the Portuguese fortifications and an early 20th-century palace. They relocated commercial facilities to the foot of the fortifications and introduced decorative pavings and murals by local artists. The patrons continue to guide and aid the improvement of the water and sewerage systems, as well as the maintenance of houses, public buildings and mosques. The jury notes that "from a modest start but with ambitious vision, a few native sons of Asilah took it upon themselves to upgrade the physical and cultural environment of their town. With perseverance and skill, they managed to raise the consciousness and mobilise the people of Asilah to implement this vision."


Grameen Bank Housing Programme, Various locations, BangladeshGrameen Bank Housing Programme, Various locations, Bangladesh

Grameen Bank (Muhammed Yunus, Director), Dhaka, Bangladesh

Landless Members of Grameen Bank, various locations, Bangladesh

Completed in 1984


Bangladesh is one of the poorest and most populous countries in the world. Like most developing nations, it has a severe housing problem. The Grameen Bank is a co-operative non-governmental association that first began a loan programme, without collateral, for the rural poor to help them initiate income generating schemes. This proved successful, the incomes of the loan recipients rose, and most were able to repay the bank. Encouraged, bank officials decided to extend the bank's support to house-building, and now offer credit to its shelterless members, 84% being women, to build flood and water resistant modest houses. Along with loans of approximately US$ 350 at 5% interest, each borrower receives four concrete columns, a prefabricated sanitary slab and 26 corrugated iron roofing sheets. Other building materials are procured as needed. The structural system is based on a standard module, and the pre-cast building materials are mass-produced off site and made available to the self-helpers at low prices. The families construct the houses themselves. In the first five years of the programme 44'500 houses were built, and 98% of the participants had paid back their loans. The jury stated that "the lesson of this success lies in the thoughtful concept and the participatory process behind it, which could be emulated, not imitated, throughout the Muslim and Third Worlds."


Citra Niaga Urban Development, Samarinda, IndonesiaCitra Niaga Urban Development, Samarinda, Indonesia

P.T. Pandurata Indah (Didik Soewandi, Director), Jakarta, Indonesiao

Antonio Ismael Risianto, PT Triaco, and PT Griyantara Architects, Jakarta, Indonesia

Koperasi Pedagang Pasar (informal sector cooperative), Jakarta, Indonesia

Samarinda Municipal Government, Samarinda, Indonesia

Institute for Development Studies, Jakarta, Indonesia

Completed in 1986


Before its transformation, this site was inhabited by a low-income migrant population working as street peddlers. These hawkers are still there occupying over 200 stalls provided for them free of charge by the urban development programme. Other built units include 79 smaller shops catering to high and medium income groups; 141 shop houses arranged in arcades, as well as infrastructural and recreational facilities. Pedestrian precincts are landscaped and automobiles are restricted to the periphery of the site. The entire complex is unified by the use of traditional roof forms. This social, economic and design accomplishment has been achieved through private and community involvement, without financial or technical assistance from the government or foreign donors. The jury notes that "the whole process has been a democratic one, culminating in the establishment of a management board representing through a co-operative, the interests of the peddlers, the shop keepers, the local government and the consultants."


Gürel Family Summer Residence, Çanakkale, TurkeyGürel Family Summer Residence, Çanakkale, Turkey

Sedat Gürel, Istanbul, Turkey

Güzin Gürel, Istanbul, Turkey

Completed in 1971


This housing compound, designed by an architect for himself and his family, extends along the crest of a rocky site sloping downward to a beach. Hugging the stone boundary wall parallel to the road, yet informally arranged among the pine, olive and oak trees, are seven small, spare and simple one-storey, stuccoed and whitewashed buildings, traditionally constructed in masonry, with timber ceilings and clay tile roofs. Two of the units are for living (with kitchens), and four are for sleeping (with bathrooms). The seventh is a common service unit, adjacent to the parking space. The original vegetation has been allowed to remain and the footpaths are paved with beach pebbles. The jury found this residence to be "a work of art in which nature and humanism occupy the first place."


Hayy Assafarat Landscaping and al-Kindi Plaza, Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaHayy Assafarat Landscaping and al-Kindi Plaza, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Landscape Architects for Hayy Assafarat Bödeker, Boyer, Wagenfeld and Partners, Düsseldorf, Germany

Architects for al-Kindi Plaza
Beeah Group Consultants (Ali Shuaibi and Abdul-Rahman Hussaini), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Arriyadh Development Authority (Mohamed A. al-Shaikh, President), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Completed in 1986


The developed area is a governmental and ambassadorial precinct that includes, in addition to embassies, consulates and various related structures, residential areas for officials and diplomats, as well as public space and secluded picnic areas for the citizens of Riyadh. The multi-lane, clover-leafed expressway that borders the development to the east and south is screened by intensive and concentrated landscaping. The Al-Kindi Plaza lies between two secondary roads that form an arc dividing the development in two roughly equal segments. These roads are lined with contiguous buildings designed as a linear development, interrupted by courtyards, open spaces and a maidan, part of the plaza, that faces the district's central mosque. Tertiary roads lead to five housing clusters. The jury considered Al-Kindi Plaza to be an ideal model for cities in Islamic and Arab societies for having "attractively preserved the traditional link between the mosque and the other public services of the city." The landscaping of the entire project has been planned as a self-sustaining ecological system, using, where appropriate, plant materials to be found in the surrounding desert environment. The jury found the landscaping to be "a realistic and imaginative understanding of the natural and spatial organisation in hot and arid regions."


Sidi el-Aloui Primary School, Tunis, TunisiaSidi el-Aloui Primary School, Tunis, Tunisia

Association de la Sauvegarde de la Médina de Tunis (Samir Hamaici, Architect, and Denis Lesage, Project Co-ordinator), Tunis, Tunisia

Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Ministry of Housing, Tunis, Tunisia

Completed in 1986


Conceived as an alternative to standard school design in Tunis, this building, carefully related to its context, came about through the efforts of a local citizens' group. The school is located in a very dense sector of the Tunis medina, an ancient neighbourhood of narrow winding streets, cul-de-sacs and small courtyards. Erected on a site left vacant since its housing was demolished in the 1960's, the entrance façade faces a public park. This façade is symmetrical about the park's principal axis. The main door is given importance by a two-storey assembly of mashrabiyyas directly above it, the lower enclosing a balcony, the upper recessed within the window frame. The façade wing is one storey higher than the rest of the school to bring it into the scale of neighbouring structures and accommodate the headmaster's suite. The jury concluded that "this school constitutes a remarkably urbane and responsible building block in the overall fabric of the city."


Corniche Mosque, Jeddah, Saudi ArabiaCorniche Mosque, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Abdelwahed El-Wakil, Folkstone, England

Municipality of Jeddah (Mohammed Saïd Farsi, Mayor) and Ministry of Pilgrimage and Endowments, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Completed in 1986

The powerful silhouette of this mosque, one of three set as pavilions along the corniche of Jeddah, facing the Red Sea, proclaims to all the presence of Islam. Classically Islamic in form, it has been rethought and transformed to serve contemporary purposes. Technologically, this building reflects the architect's extensive research in the methods whereby Egyptian mosques of the traditional high culture were built. The entire structure is of brick coated with plaster except for the dome interior in which the bricks are exposed and painted a dark bronze colour. The prayer hall itself is at the centre of a composition that includes the mihrab, projecting outward from the eastern wall just below an oculus, an entrance porch covered by a catenary vault and a square-based minaret with an octagonal shaft. The jury commended the architect "for the effort to compose formal elements in ways that bespeak the present and at the same time reflect the luminous past of Islamic societies."


Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaMinistry of Foreign Affairs, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Henning Larsen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Completed in 1984


This stately government building is rooted in two Islamic architectural traditions, the vernacular as found in the local mud brick Najdi architecture, and the monumental as expressed in such works as the Alhambra and the Taj Mahal. Surrounded by villas and office buildings, it provides office space for 1'000 employees; meeting, conference and prayer rooms; banquet, library, auditorium, exhibition and parking facilities. The two semi-circular structures on either side of the main entrance house on the left the banquet hall, and on the right the library. The entrance leads to the four-storey triangular lobby. Each of the three main office areas centres upon an octagonal dome-covered plaza from which barrel-vaulted corridors (inspired by traditional city suqs) connect to the lobby. Within each office area are three formal gardens. Daylight reaches interiors far from the perimeter walls by means of these open to the sky spaces as well as by skylights. The degree of air conditioning needed has been reduced by thick walls, high quality insulation, mashrabiyyas and small windows. The jury noted that "simplicity and complexity are outstanding features of the design. This expensive building conveys a sense of economy and clarity".


National Assembly Building, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka, BangladeshNational Assembly Building, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Louis I. Kahn, Philadelphia, U.S.A., with David Wisdom and Associates (after 1979), Philadelphia, U.S.A

Public Works Department, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Completed in 1983


Clear in form and composition, powerful in scale and siting, this building is widely considered a masterpiece. The architect drew upon and assimilated both the vernacular and monumental archetypes of the region, and abstracted and transformed, to a degree of utter purity, lasting architectural ideas from many eras and civilisations. The core of the composition is the assembly chamber, a 300-seat, 30-meters high, domed amphitheatre and the library. These spaces alternate among eight "light and air courts" and a restaurant, as well as entrances to the garden and mosque. Built of rough-shuttered, poured-in-place concrete, the walls are inlaid with bands of white marble. The jury noted that the architect has produced a building that "while universal in its sources of forms, aesthetics, and technologies, could be in no other place."


Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, FranceInstitut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France

Jean Nouvel, Pierre Soria and Gilbert Lezénés, with the Architecture Studio, Paris, France

Ziyad Ahmed Zaidan, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France

Completed in 1987


This centre of Arab culture occupies a beautiful site on the left bank of the Seine, facing the Ile St-Louis from the riverside edge of the University of Paris. The building consists of a museum, a library, an auditorium, offices and meeting rooms assembled within two wings separated by a courtyard opening out toward the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. The translucent marble façade of the seven-storey northern wing is elegantly curved to follow the sweep of the quay. At the west end of this wing is the 100'000 volume library, a spiral tower of books behind a transparent wall of glass offering panoramic views. The principal façade of the eleven-storey southern wing consists of 113 photosensitive panels that operate like a camera's diaphragm opening and closing to control the intensity of light in the interior. The jury, while acknowledging that the building is "not successful in all aspects of its design and at times overly complex to use with ease and comfort," found much to commend in its role as "a successful bridge between French and Arab cultures."

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