Geneva, Switzerland, February, 2012 – The Aga Khan Award for Architecture has announced the members of the Steering Committee for the 12th Award cycle (2011 – 2013).
The Steering Committee is chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan. The other members of the Steering Committee are: Mohammad al-Asad (Founder and chairman, Center for the Study of the Built Environment, Amman, Jordan); Homi K. Bhabha (Director of the Humanities Center, Harvard University, USA); Norman Foster (Founder and chairman, Foster + Partners, London); Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj (CEO, Syria Trust for Development, Damascus); Glenn Lowry (Director, Museum of Modern Art, New York); Rahul Mehrotra (Principal, RMA Architects, Mumbai); Mohsen Mostafavi (Dean of the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, USA); Farshid Moussavi (Principal, Farshid Moussavi Architecture, London); Han Tümertekin (Principal, Mimarlar Tasarim Danismanlik Ltd, Istanbul). Farrokh Derakhshani is the Director of the Award.
The Steering Committee is the governing body of the Award. It is responsible for establishing the eligibility criteria for project nominations, providing thematic direction to the Award, and developing plans for its cyclical and long-term future. For each Award cycle, the Steering Committee appoints an independent Master Jury to select the award recipients from the nominated projects.
Established in 1977, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture is given every three years to projects that set new standards of excellence in architecture, planning practices, historic preservation and landscape architecture. The Award seeks projects that represent the broadest possible range of architectural interventions, with particular attention given to building schemes that use local resources and appropriate technology in innovative ways, and those that are likely to inspire similar efforts elsewhere. Projects can be anywhere in the world, but must successfully address the needs and aspirations of societies in which Muslims have a significant presence.
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture has a prize fund of US$ 500,000. The rigor of its nomination and selection process has made it, in the eyes of many observers, one of the world’s most important architectural prizes. Projects that have received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture include the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the Central Market of Koudougou, Burkina Faso, and the rehabilitation of the Walled City of Nicosia in Cyprus.
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The Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) is part of the 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. As the cultural agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), the Trust leverages cultural heritage as a means of supporting and catalysing development. 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 Aga Khan Music Initiative supports the efforts of traditional musicians and communities to sustain, further develop and transmit musical traditions. The Museums and Exhibition unit coordinates the development of a number of museum and exhibition projects, including two ongoing museum projects in Cairo and Toronto. 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.
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a group of private development agencies working to empower communities and individuals, often in disadvantaged circumstances, to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in Central and South Asia, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. AKDN agencies work for the common good of all citizens, regardless of their gender, origin or religion. Its underlying impulse is the ethic of compassion for the vulnerable in society. Its annual budget for social and cultural development activities is US$ 625 million (2010). The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), an AKDN development agency that makes long-term investments in fragile economies on a commercial basis, has annual revenues of over US$ 2.3 billion (2010). Surpluses are reinvested in further development projects.