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Aga Khan Award for Architecture announces project eligibility criteria for the tenth cycle and appoints new Steering Committee

Geneva, 28 November 2005 - The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is pleased to announce the Tenth Award Cycle, which will span the three-year period from 2005 to 2007.

The Award is governed by a Steering Committee chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan. Members of the 2007 committee are: Professor Omar Akbar, Executive Director of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation in Dessau; Mr. Jacques Herzog, partner, Herzog & de Meuron Architects, Basel;Mr. Glenn Lowry, Director of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City; Professor Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University in Ithaca; Professor Farshid Moussavi, partner, Foreign Office Architects, London, and Professor in Practice of Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design; Professor Hani Rashid, partner, Asymptote Architecture, New York City, and Professor of Architecture at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation;Professor Modjtaba Sadria, Professor of Cross-Cultural Relations & East Asian Studies at Chuo University in Tokyo; and Ms. Billie Tsien, partner, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, New York City. (For full biographical information on the members of the 2007 Award Steering Committee, please click here.) The Secretary General of the Award is Dr. Suha Özkan.

Each cycle, the Steering Committee is responsible for establishing the current eligibility criteria for projects to be considered for the Award, to provide thematic direction in response to the priorities and issues that have emerged during the recent past, and to develop plans for the cyclical and long-term future of the Award. The Steering Committee is responsible for the selection of the Master Jury appointed for each Award cycle, and for the programmes of activities such as seminars and field visits, the Award Presentation Ceremony Events, publications and exhibitions.

Prizes totalling up to US$ 500,000 – constituting the largest architectural award in the world – are presented every three years to projects selected by an independent Master Jury. The Award has completed nine cycles of activity since its inception in 1977, and documentation has been compiled on over 7,500 building projects located throughout the world. To date, ninety-two projects have received Awards.

Project Eligibility
The Award seeks out the broadest possible range of architectural interventions. There are no fixed criteria for the type, nature, location or cost of projects to be considered, although eligible projects must be designed for or used by Muslim communities, in part or in whole, wherever they are located. In addition, projects must have been completed and have been in use for at least one full year between the period 1 January 1994 and 31 December 2005. No projects commissioned by His Highness the Aga Khan or undertaken by current members of the Award Steering Committee, Master Jury, or staff, or by the Board or staff of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture may be considered.

Project Submission Procedures
Projects to be considered for the Award are enrolled through an official nomination process. The submission of a wide range of projects is ensured by a confidential network of nominators designated by the Award. In addition, a project identification programme permits all persons or institutions to submit projects on-line on the “Architecture” section of the Aga Khan Development Network website. The identification and documentation of eligible projects will continue through 2006. Project selection procedures by the Master Jury, the on-site review of projects, and announcement of the Award Recipients will take place during 2007.

To reach out to a wider audience, the Award organizes international and regional seminars during each cycle. International seminars examine the trends and implications of architectural transformations in the Islamic world, while regional seminars explore architecture in Islamic cultures in a specific area. Designed to address developments in the built environments of Muslim communities, they bring together government officials, architects, academics, planners, social scientists, designers and architectural writers. Since the Award's inception, twenty-one seminars have been held in various parts of the world, including Paris, Istanbul, Fez, Jakarta, Amman, Beijing, Dakar, Sana'a, Kuala Lumpur, Cairo, Dhaka, Granada, Malta, Zanzibar, Yogyakarta, Almaty, Baku, Beirut, Moscow, Yazd and Tehran. The next regional seminar will take place in Kuwait in December 2005 and will be co-hosted by the Kuwait Society of Engineers. The theme of the seminar will be “Architectural Journalism and Criticism”.

The most recent cyclical monograph of the Award, Architecture and Polyphony: Building in the Islamic World Today, features the seven recipients of the 2004 Award and was designed by Irma Boom. The volume is available from the publishers, Thames & Hudson, who can be contacted by e-mail or by facsimile at (44.207) 845.5050.


The Aga Khan Trust for Culture The Award forms an integral component of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, whose two other major areas of activity are the Historic Cities Support Programme and the Education and Culture Programme.

The Historic Cities Support Programme was set up in 1991 to implement conservation and urban revitalisation projects in culturally significant sites of the Islamic world. Such projects combine environmental as well as conservation and socio-economic components, and demonstrate that these concerns can be mutually supportive. The programme activities cover conservation of historic buildings, urban rehabilitation, improvement of public open spaces, community-based socio-economic development and local institution-building. The portfolio of projects now includes sites in Northern Pakistan (Hunza and Baltistan), Zanzibar, Cairo, Samarkand, Mostar, Aleppo, Masyaf, Kabul, Herat, Delhi and Mopti.

The Education and Culture Programme consists of five major units: the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, established in 1979; ArchNet (www., a web-based virtual archive developed at the MIT School of Architecture Planning and the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin; the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia which is concerned with the revitalisation of traditional music; the Aga Khan Humanities Project which promotes pluralism of ideas, cultures and people by supporting the development and implementation of innovative humanities curricula; and the Museum Projects, which deal with the conceptualisation, design and realisation of museum projects initiated by the Trust.

The Aga Khan Development Network The Trust for Culture coordinates the cultural activities of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), which was founded by His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims. The Network is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies working to empower communities and individuals to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. The Network's nine development agencies focus on social, cultural and economic development for all citizens, regardless of gender, origin or religion. The AKDN's underlying ethic is compassion for the vulnerable in society. Its annual budget for philanthropic activity is in excess of US$300 million.

The Network’s social development agencies include the Aga Khan Foundation, incorporating the Aga Khan Rural Support Programmes and the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme, the Aga Khan University, Aga Khan Health Services, Aga Khan Education Services, and Aga Khan Planning and Building Services. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development – with its affiliates, Tourism Promotion Services, Industrial Promotion Services, Financial Services, Media Services and Aviation Services – seeks to strengthen economies in developing countries by supporting private sector initiatives in the development process. The Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance, which regrouped several microfinance programmes previously undertaken by other agencies, began operations in February 2005.

For more information, please contact:
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture
P.O. Box 2049
1211 Geneva 2
Facsimile: (41.22) 909.72.92
E-mail: Website:


His Highness The Aga Khan, Chairman.

Omar Akbar is a German urbanist and architect, and the Executive Director of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation. He was born in Afghanistan and attended primary school in Kabul, and undertook university and graduate training in architecture and urban design at the Technical University in Berlin. His Master’s thesis (1976) concentrated on the process of urbanization in developing countries, using India as an example, and his doctoral thesis (1981) was a comparison of the social behaviour and the construction and spatial organization of mahals, which led to the development of the theory of Islamic living quarters. Professor Akbar worked as an architect in several offices in Germany while at the same time teaching in Berlin. He was the team leader (1981-82) of the development project for Al-Karkh (an area of Baghdad), and a consultant to GTZ (German Agency for Technical Development) from 1987 to 1993 for urban development projects in Banjul (Gambia), Sana’a (Yemen), and Aswan (Egypt). He also served as a UNESCO consultant on Cairo in 1991 and 1992. From 1993 to 1998, he was professor of urban design and the theory of architecture at the Technical University for Applied Sciences in Dessau, before taking up the position of Executive Director of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation in 1998.

Jacques Herzog is a Swiss architect and partner in “Herzog & de Meuron”, the firm which received the 2001 Pritzker Architecture Prize. Trained in architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, Mr. Herzog opened his private practice with Pierre de Meuron in Basel during 1978. Recently completed projects include Prada Aoyama Tokyo; Forum 2004 Building and Plaza in Barcelona; the Walker Art Center Expansion in Minneapolis; and the new de Young Museum in San Francisco. Following the success of the Allianz Arena in Munich, Herzog & de Meuron are designing the National Stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Other current projects include: The New Link Quay in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the Caixa Forum in Madrid, and the Philharmonic Hall in Hamburg. The projects and completed works of Herzog & de Meuron are widely exhibited and published, and featured in numerous monographs and catalogues. Mr. Herzog is a visiting professor at Harvard University and co-founder of the ETH Studio Basel, Institute for the Contemporary City. He was a member of the 2004 Award Steering Committee.

Glenn Lowry is an art historian from the United States, and Director of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. Among the major exhibitions that have taken place during Mr. Lowry’s tenure at MoMA are Mies in Berlin (2001), Andreas Gursky (2001), Workspheres (2001), Jackson Pollock (1998–99), Pierre Bonnard (1998), Aleksandr Rodchenko (1998), Chuck Close (1998), Jasper Johns (1996–1997), Picasso and Portraiture (1996), and Piet Mondrian (1995). A noted scholar of Islamic arts and architecture, Mr. Lowry was previously Director of the Art Gallery of Ontario (1990?95), and Curator of Near Eastern Art at the Smithsonian Institution’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art (1984?90) where he organized, among other exhibitions, Timur and Princely Vision: Persian Art and Culture in the Fifteenth Century (1989) and A Jeweler’s Eye: Islamic Arts of the Book From the Vever Collection (1988). Mr. Lowry’s many honours include a doctorate of fine arts degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (2000), Chevalier d’Ordre de Merite (2001) and Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres (2000) from the French government, and the Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Studies Award (1990). Mr. Lowry served as a member of the 2004 Award Steering Committee.

Mohsen Mostafavi, an architect and educator of Iranian origin, is Dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University (USA), where he is also the Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Professor of Architecture; from 1995 to 2004, he was Chairman of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. Dean Mostafavi received a Diploma in Architecture from the Architectural Association in London, and undertook research on counter-reformation urban history at the University of Essex and at Cambridge University. Previously, he was Director of the Master of Architecture I Program at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University. Dean Mostafavi has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Cambridge University, and the Frankfurt Academy of Fine Arts (Staedelschule). His research has been published in many journals, including The Architectural Review, AAFiles, Arquitectura, Bauwelt, Casabella, Centre, and Daidalos. He is co-author of Architecture and Continuity (1983); Delayed Space (with Homa Fardjadi, Princeton Architectural Press, 1994); and On Weathering: The Life of Buildings in Time (with David Leatherbarrow, MIT, 1993) which received the American Institute of Architects’ prize for writing on architectural theory. Dean Mostafavi’s recent publications include: Approximations (AA/MIT, 2002);Surface Architecture (MIT, 2002) which received the CICA Bruno Zevi Book Award; Logique Visuelle (Idea Books, 2003); and Landscape Urbanism: A Manual for the Machinic Landscape (AA Publications, 2004). He served as a member of the 2004 Award Steering Committee.

Farshid Moussavi is an architect and partner in the firm “Foreign Office Architects” (FOA), and Professor in Practice of Architecture at Harvard University. She was trained at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, University College London, and Dundee University, prior to establishing Foreign Office Architects (with Alejandro Zaera Polo) in London in 1992. She has served as Professor and Head of the Architecture Institute at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (2002-2005), the Kenzo Tange Visiting Design Critic at the Harvard Design School (2005), Unit Master at the Architectural Association School of Architecture (1993-2000), and Visiting Professor at the University of California in Los Angeles, Columbia University in New York, Princeton University, the Berlage Institute in Amsterdam, and the Hoger Architecture Institute in Belgium. FOA have produced numerous critical and award-winning international projects, amongst them the Yokohama Ferry Terminal in Japan, a large new park with outdoor auditoriums in Barcelona, and the Spanish Pavilion at the International Expo in Aichi, Japan; projects now under construction include a theatre building in Torrevieja, a Technology Centre in Logrono, a Publishing Headquarters in Paju (Korea), and Social Housing in Madrid. Current projects include: large scale office developments in the UK, Spain and the Netherlands; the master plan designs for the Lower Lea Valley and the London 2012 Olympics; a new Music Centre for the BBC and a College of Art and Design in London; and retail commissions in the UK, Turkey and Spain. The work of FOA is widely exhibited and published in numerous monographs and catalogues. FOA represented Britain at the 8th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2002. FAO has received the Enric Miralles Prize for Architecture, two RIBA World Wide Awards, one of five 2004 Venice Architecture Biennale awards and, most recently, the Charles Jencks Award for Architecture. Professor Moussavi is a member of the International Design Committee in London and a member of the Design and Architecture Advisory Group to the British Council. She served as the Chair of the 2004 Award Master Jury.

Hani Rashid is a New York based practising architect who received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Carleton University and a Master of Architecture degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. In 1988, he co-founded Asymptote Architecture in New York City with partner Lise Anne Couture. Asymptote received the 2004 Frederick Kiesler Award in recognition of outstanding contribution to the fields of art and architecture. The work of Asymptote includes architecture, urban planning, exhibition and product design as well as multi-media digital installations. Current projects include a commercial and cultural complex in Penang, Malaysia; a chapel and auditorium in the Netherlands; a masterplan for the city of Monterrey, Mexico; a residential tower in New York; and an exhibition venue for Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, Germany. Recently completed projects include the award-winning HydraPier in the Netherlands, the Turf Club Masterplan in Penang, and a proposal for a new Guggenheim Museum in Guadalajara, Mexico. Hani Rashid’s work has been featured in numerous publications including Time magazine, The New York Times, Domus, A + U, Architectural Record and Wired. He represented the United States at the American Pavilion of the Architecture Biennale in Venice in June 2000; in 2004, he was the Chair to the Cátedra Luis Barragán, in Monterey, Mexico, and was invited to exhibit at Documenta 11 in Kassel, Germany. Since 1989, Hani Rashid has been a Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture where he is a leading researcher with respect to architectural design utilizing digital technologies, co-developing the school’s Advanced Digital Design programme in 1995. He has been a visiting professor and lecturer at numerous universities including the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen, the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles, the University of Lund, Sweden, the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, the Berlage Institute in the Netherlands, and the Stadleschule in Frankfurt. Presently, Hani Rashid is a Professor of Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Department of Architecture in Zurich, Switzerland.

Modjtaba Sadria, an Iranian-born philosopher, is a Professor at the Graduate School and Faculty of Policy Issues at Chuo University in Tokyo. Professor Sadria holds doctorate degrees in philosophy from the University of Paris and in international relations from the University of Quebec at Montreal, and master’s degrees in literature, in history, and in philosophy from the University of Paris. Professor Sadria is a specialist in cross-cultural relations and East Asian studies. He lectures widely, including recent presentations on "A Complex World and Many Understandings", "The Possibility of Dialogue After 9.11", "A Perspective of Iranian Foreign Policy: Triangle Relations between Khatami, Nation and Society", "Building Bridges between the United States and Iran", and “Preserving Cultural Integrity and Promoting Dialogue among Civilizations". Professor Sadria is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Policy and Culture, Tokyo. From 1999 to 2001, he served as the Deputy Director for Research at the International Center for Dialogue Among Civilizations in Tehran. He is also a member of the Organizing Committee of the Kyoto International Cultural Forum. Professor Sadria has published over 50 books and articles, including “Global Civil Society and Ethics: Finding Common Ground” (Tokyo, 2003), “People Who Live on the Edge of the World” (Tokyo, 2002), “Realism: Trap of International Relations” (1994, in Japanese), Prayer for Lost Objects: A Non-Weberian Approach to the Birth of Modern Society(2003, in Persian), “Social Development: Challenges to a Concept” (in the Journal of Policy and Culture, Tokyo, 2004), “East Asia: Cultural Aspects of Challenges in a Globalizing World” (in Globalization in East Asia, 2004, in Japanese), and “Spinoza and Japan” (in Sogoseisaku Kenyu, Tokyo, 2005). Professor Sadria was a member of the 2004 Award Master Jury.

Billie Tsien is an American architect and artist trained in fine arts at Yale University (BFA, 1971) and in architecture at the University of California at Los Angeles (M.Arch, 1977). She has worked with Tod Williams since 1977 and they have been in partnership since 1986. She has taught at the Parsons School of Design, Yale University, Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and the University of Texas at Austin. Completed works by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects include the American Museum of Folk Art in New York City, the Student Arts Centre at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Feinberg Hall at Princeton University, a 525-person dormitory and dining facility at the University of Virginia, a major addition to the Phoenix Art Museum, the Natatorium at the Cranbrook School, and the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California. Ms. Tsien has a particular interest in work that bridges art and architecture. She is an advisor for the Wexner Prize, and serves on the boards of the Public Art Fund, the Architectural League, and the American Academy of Rome. With Tod Williams, she is the recipient of the Brunner Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Medal of Honour from the New York City branch of the American Institute of Architects, the Thomas Jefferson Medal from the University of Virginia, the Chrysler Award for Design Innovation, and the Smithsonian Institution/Cooper Hewitt National Design Award. A monograph of their work entitled Work Life was published in 2000. Ms. Tsien was a member of the 2004 Award Master Jury.