Architecture

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AKDN AND

Architecture

The AKDN works to impact architecture and human habitats in a number of ways.  It works directly on projects that improve housing, particularly design and construction, but also village planning, natural hazard mitigation, environmental sanitation, water supplies, and other issues that affect living conditions.  It undertakes urban regeneration projects that include the restoration of historic structures, the creation and rehabilitation of public spaces, parks and gardens and supports community based planning and upgrading projects that spur social, economic and cultural development.

The most well-known programme is perhaps the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, which was started in 1977.  Architectural discourse at the time reflected Western preoccupations.  Little was said of Islamic architecture or many of the concerns that the Award championed then and which are common today: sustainability, human scale, climate adaptation, quality of life. To address these issues, the Award was given every three years to projects that set new standards of excellence in architecture, planning practices, historic preservation and landscape architecture. Attention was given to building schemes that used local resources and appropriate technology in innovative ways, and to projects likely to inspire similar efforts elsewhere. For more information about the Award, please see:  www.akdn.org/architecture.

Other programmes within AKDN address the intersection of architecture and the quality of life in different ways.  The Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme conducts regeneration projects that spur social, economic and cultural development, including the restoration of historic structures, the creation and rehabilitation of public spaces, parks and gardens, and community-based planning and upgrading projects.

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The Award was therefore established to identify and promote exemplary buildings and public spaces that, when replicated, could improve the quality of life. Now considered one of the most renowned awards of its kind, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture has become an important influence in Islamic architecture in particular and in global architectural discourse in general. The Award is given every three years to projects that set new standards of excellence in architecture, planning practices, historic preservation and landscape architecture. Attention is given to building schemes that use local resources and appropriate technology in innovative ways, and to projects likely to inspire similar efforts elsewhere. Other programmes  address the intersection of architecture and the quality of life in different ways. 

The Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme conducts regeneration projects that spur social, economic and cultural development, including the restoration of historic structures, the creation and rehabilitation of public spaces, parks and gardens, and community-based planning and upgrading projects.

The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) works to educate architects, planners, teachers, and researchers who can contribute to meeting the building and design needs of Muslim communities . AKPIA's faculty, students, and alumni have played a substantial role in advancing the practice, analysis, and understanding of Islamic architecture as a discipline and cultural force.  Established in 1979, it is supported by an endowment from His Highness the Aga Khan. It works to improve the teaching of Islamic art and architecture,  enhance the understanding of Islamic architecture, urbanism, and visual culture (including through excellence in advanced research), and to increase the visibility of Islamic cultural heritage. Archnet.org is an on-line complement to the Award, the Historic Cities Programme and the AKPIA programmes.  It aims to be the most comprehensive archive of resources on architecture, urban design and development in the Muslim world.  It features vetted and refereed articles, data and research, and combines collections  from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard and MIT, and donated collections of historic archives and documentation.

Please also see:
Aga Khan Award for Architecture
Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme
Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture Archnet.org

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Agencies

AKDN lead agency in Architecture: