A recent online symposium and website by the University of Toronto (UoT) showcased winners of the most recent Aga Khan Awards for Architecture (AKAA). Each of the six winners feature an awareness of local climate and sensitivity to local culture, as well as artful composition. The AKAA send a "field reviewer" to report on the ground. Aziza Chaouni, a UoT Professor said in the symposium: "The most important job was to assess the impact of this project on the users and the immediate environment". The AKAA are different. They have always recognised landscape and heritage preservation alongside architecture.
On 20 January, a joint Lecture Series was organised online by the AKU-ISMC and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture’s Education Programme with the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) and the Aga Khan Museum. Panelists highlighted innovations in materials, design and adaptation of local and traditional building practices to promote greener construction. Panelists from AKAH discussed their work on adapting and introducing green building elements in remote and vulnerable communities across South and Central Asia. Saif Ul Haque Sthapati, architect of the Arcadia Education Project, winner of the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, talked about the unique features of this modular, amphibious school complex designed to adapt to its river environment.
In India, the restoration process of Qutb Shahi Tombs, undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, connected the Golconda fort and the Qutb Shahi necropolis after the removal of several layers of mounds of earth. This arched doorway, although not yet opened, is supposed to have been the channel to carry the dead bodies of royalty and their close associates from their imperial chambers in the fort for the customary funeral bath and burial at the tombs complex. Letitia Elizabeth Landon, a young English poet in the 19th century, wrote a poem about the tombs without physically visiting the site. "The Tombs of the Kings of Golconda" forms a part of the collection of "The Zenana and minor poems" first published in 1839.
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture has named the President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA), Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, as member of its 15th edition, 2020-2022. Her project, the Revitalisation of Muharraq, won the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Launched by His Highness in 1977, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture is an architectural prize aiming to identify and reward architectural concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of Muslim societies in the fields of contemporary design, social housing, community development and improvement, restoration, reuse and area conservation, as well as landscape design and improvement of the environment.
The rehabilitation of two summer camps in the villages of Barrushan and Anjin in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO), Tajikistan serving as a potential quarantine or treatment centre, were successfully completed by the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH). Serving as an additional treatment facility for Covid-19 patients, "these rehabilitated summer camps are now fully equipped to cater for 50 to 70 coronavirus patients at a time", says Laylo Shogunbekova, AKAH project Manager. To enhance joint and coordinated response efforts, AKAH, the Aga Khan Foundation Tajikistan, and the GBAO Regional Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the mutual usage of these summer camps.