Established in 1977, the Award 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$ 1 million. The rigor of its nomination and selection process has made it, in the eyes of many observers, one of the world's most influential architectural prizes. Projects that received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2016 include the Bait Ur Rouf Mosque in Dhaka and the Friendship Centre in Gaibandha, Bangladesh; the Hutong Children's Library & Art Centre in Beijing, China; the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs in Beirut, Lebanon; the Superkilen in Copenhagen, Denmark; and the Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge in Tehran, Iran.