Kuwait, 7 December 2005 - A seminar entitled “Architectural Journalism and Criticism”, co-organised by the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the Kuwait Society of Engineers, was held in Kuwait City on the 6th and 7th December 2005. The meeting was planned in collaboration with the International Committee of Architectural Critics and the Kuwait League of Architects.
The seminar was the final component of the Middle-East Architecture and Design Conference and Exhibition that began in Kuwait on 3rd December 2005. The conference and exhibition are one of the most important events of their kind, bringing together a range of interests in the field of urban planning and architectural design and building , interior design, and landscape architecture, as well as other design-related services, in this region where construction and urban development activity has witnessed unprecedented growth in recent years.
Participants in the seminar included distinguished architects, engineers and journalists from a number of countries around the globe, including Argentina, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Syria, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Themes for discussion at the seminar included the role, context and purpose of architectural journalism and criticism, the relations between practicing architects and critics and journalists, and the role of media and photography in the field of architecture and urban planning.
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the largest architectural award in the world with a triennial prize fund of US$ 500,000, organizes international and regional seminars during each Award 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 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. The Tenth Award Cycle is now underway, and will span the three-year period from 2005 to 2007.
Details of the Middle-East Architecture and Design Conference and Exhibition are posted on www.KuwaitDirection.org.
Aga Khan Development Network
P.O. Box 2049
1211 Geneva 2
Tel: (+41 22) 909 7200
Fax: (+41 22) 909 7291
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. archnet.org), 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.
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2007 Steering Committee
His Highness the Aga Khan, Chairman.
Omar Akbar, Executive Director, Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, Dessau.
Jacques Herzog, Partner, Herzog & de Meuron Architects, Basel.
Glenn Lowry, Director, The Museum of Modern Art, New York City.
Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean, College of Architecture, Art and Planning, Cornell University, Ithaca.
Farshid Moussavi, Partner, Foreign Office Architects, London.
Hani Rashid, Partner, Asymptote Architecture, New York City.
Modjtaba Sadria, Professor of Cross-Cultural Relations and East Asian Studies, Chuo University, Tokyo.
Billie Tsien, Partner, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, New York City.
Suha Özkan, Secretary General.