Singapore, 20 July 2012 -- A two-day Aga Khan Award for Architecture seminar on planning practices was held 19-20 July 2012 at the Urban Redevelopment Centre in Singapore. City planners, academics and architects from around the world participated in discussions relating to the integration of mobility, energy, water and waste disposal into planning practice, the role of educational institutions in the life of a city and the effects of art, culture and sport on planning strategies.
Speakers included Koon Hean Cheong-Chua, CEO of the Housing and Development Board of Singapore; Eko Budhihardjo, Chairman of the Advisory Council on Urban Development for Indonesia; Heng Chye Kiang, a specialist in Asian urban planning and design and professor in the Department of Architecture at the National University of Singapore; Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA; Rahul Mehrotra, principal of Rahul Mehrotra Associates of Mumbai, India and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard; and Farrokh Derakhshani, Director of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Municipal planners and professors of architecture and planning from as far afield as Columbia and Canada and as close as China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia joined their colleagues from Singapore in examining models of planning practice.
Site visits included a tour of Pinnacle@Duxton, a 50-storey public housing project of 1,848 apartments and seven towers which are connected at the 26th and 50th floors by skybridges. Another tour featured the newly opened Gardens by the Bay.
The seminar was a collaboration of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore, the National University of Singapore, the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
The event is part of a programme of seminars that takes place during the three-year cycles of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. The Award is given to projects that set new standards of excellence in architecture, planning practices, historic preservation and landscape architecture.
In 2007, Singapore’s WOHA Architects Wong Mun Summ and Richad Hassel received the prestigious prize for their work on No 1 Moulmein Rise, a project of the UOL Development Pte Ltd. Other winners in the region include the Citra Niaga Urban Development in Samarinda, Indonesia; the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and a Bridge School in Xiashi, Fujian Province, China.
The next prize, which is now set at US$ 1 million, will be awarded in 2013. Nominations are now being accepted through 15 September 2012.
In recent cycles, the Award has encouraged the submission of projects which improve public spaces and which tackle the issues of rural societies and communities on the peripheries of urban centres. It has also encouraged exemplary industrial buildings that provide a quality environment for employees.
The seminar coincides with a special exhibition at the Asian Civilisations Museum entitled “Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum: Architecture in Islamic Arts”, which will run from 19 Jul 2012 - 28 Oct 2012.
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The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is part of the Geneva-based Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), which has a wide range of activities aimed at the preservation and promotion of the material and spiritual heritage of Muslim societies. Its programmes include the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme (HCP), which works to revitalise historic cities in the Muslim world, both culturally and socioeconomically. Over the last decade, it has been engaged in the rehabilitation of historic areas in Cairo, Kabul, Herat, Aleppo, Delhi, Zanzibar, Mostar, northern Pakistan, Timbuktu and Mopti. The Trust also supports the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as well as www.ArchNet.org, a major online resource on Islamic architecture.