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Aga Khan Award for Architecture announces project eligibility criteria for the tenth cycle and appoints new Steering Committee

Geneva, Switzerland, 28 November 2005 - The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is pleased to announce the Tenth Award Cycle, which will span the three-year period from 2005 to 2007. 

The Award is governed by a Steering Committee chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan.  Members of the 2007 committee are:  Professor Omar Akbar, Executive Director of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation in Dessau; Mr. Jacques Herzog, partner, Herzog & de Meuron Architects, Basel; Mr. Glenn Lowry, Director of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City; Professor Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University in Ithaca; Professor Farshid Moussavi, partner, Foreign Office Architects, London, and Professor in Practice of Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design;  Professor Hani Rashid, partner, Asymptote Architecture, New York City, and Professor of Architecture at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Professor Modjtaba Sadria, Professor of Cross-Cultural Relations & East Asian Studies at Chuo University in Tokyo; and Ms. Billie Tsien, partner, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, New York City.  (Full biographical information on the members of the 2007 Award Steering Committee is attached.)  The Secretary General of the Award is Dr. Suha Özkan. 

Each cycle, the Steering Committee is responsible for establishing the current eligibility criteria for projects to be considered for the Award, to provide thematic direction in response to the priorities and issues that have emerged during the recent past, and to develop plans for the cyclical and long-term future of the Award. The Steering Committee is responsible for the selection of the Master Jury appointed for each Award cycle, and for the programmes of activities such as seminars and field visits, the Award Presentation Ceremony Events, publications and exhibitions.

Prizes totalling up to US$ 500,000 – constituting the largest architectural award in the world – are presented every three years to projects selected by an independent Master Jury. The Award has completed nine cycles of activity since its inception in 1977, and documentation has been compiled on over 7,500 building projects located throughout the world. To date, ninety-two projects have received Awards.

Project Eligibility

The Award seeks out the broadest possible range of architectural interventions.  There are no fixed criteria for the type, nature, location or cost of projects to be considered, although eligible projects must be designed for or used by Muslim communities, in part or in whole, wherever they are located. In addition, projects must have been completed and have been in use for at least one full year between the period 1 January 1994 and 31 December 2005.  No projects commissioned by His Highness the Aga Khan or undertaken by current members of the Award Steering Committee, Master Jury, or staff, or by the Board or staff of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture may be considered.

Project Submission Procedures

Projects to be considered for the Award are enrolled through an official nomination process.  The submission of a wide range of projects is ensured by a confidential network of nominators designated by the Award. In addition, a project identification programme permits all persons or institutions to submit projects on-line on the “Architecture” section of the Aga Khan Development Network website –  The identification and documentation of eligible projects will continue through 2006.  Project selection procedures by the Master Jury, the on-site review of projects, and announcement of the Award Recipients will take place during 2007.


To reach out to a wider audience, the Award organizes international and regional seminars during each cycle. International seminars examine the trends and implications of architectural transformations in the Islamic world, while regional seminars explore architecture in Islamic cultures in a specific area. Designed to address developments in the built environments of Muslim communities, they bring together government officials, architects, academics, planners, social scientists, designers and architectural writers. Since the Award's inception, twenty-one seminars have been held in various parts of the world, including Paris, Istanbul, Fez, Jakarta, Amman, Beijing, Dakar, Sana'a, Kuala Lumpur, Cairo, Dhaka, Granada, Malta, Zanzibar, Yogyakarta, Almaty, Baku, Beirut, Moscow, Yazd and Tehran.  The next regional seminar will take place in Kuwait in December 2005 and will be co-hosted by the Kuwait Society of Engineers.  The theme of the seminar will be “Architectural Journalism and Criticism”.


The most recent cyclical monograph of the Award, Architecture and Polyphony: Building in the Islamic World Today, features the seven recipients of the 2004 Award and was designed by Irma Boom.  The volume is available from the publishers, Thames & Hudson, who can be contacted by e-mail or by facsimile at (44.207) 845.5050.

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture

The Award forms an integral component of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, whose two other major areas of activity are the Historic Cities Support Programme and the Education and Culture Programme.

The Historic Cities Support Programme was set up in 1991 to implement conservation and urban revitalisation projects in culturally significant sites of the Islamic world. Such projects combine environmental as well as conservation and socio-economic components, and demonstrate that these concerns can be mutually supportive.  The programme activities cover conservation of historic buildings, urban rehabilitation, improvement of public open spaces, community-based socio-economic development and local institution-building.  The portfolio of projects now includes sites in Northern Pakistan (Hunza and Baltistan), Zanzibar, Cairo, Samarkand, Mostar, Aleppo, Masyaf, Kabul, Herat, Delhi and Mopti.

The Education and Culture Programme consists of five major units: the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, established in 1979; ArchNet (www., a web-based virtual archive developed at the MIT School of Architecture Planning and the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin; the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia which is concerned with the revitalisation of traditional music;  the Aga Khan Humanities Project which promotes pluralism of ideas, cultures and people by supporting the development and implementation of innovative humanities curricula; and the Museum Projects, which deal with the conceptualisation, design and realisation of museum projects initiated by the Trust.

The Aga Khan Development Network

The Trust for Culture coordinates the cultural activities of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), which was founded by His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims. The Network is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies working to empower communities and individuals to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. The Network's nine development agencies focus on social, cultural and economic development for all citizens, regardless of gender, origin or religion. The AKDN's underlying ethic is compassion for the vulnerable in society.  Its annual budget for philanthropic activity is in excess of US$300 million.

The Network’s social development agencies include the Aga Khan Foundation, incorporating the Aga Khan Rural Support Programmes and the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme, the Aga Khan University, Aga Khan Health Services, Aga Khan Education Services, and Aga Khan Planning and Building Services. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development – with its affiliates, Tourism Promotion Services, Industrial Promotion Services, Financial Services, Media Services and Aviation Services – seeks to strengthen economies in developing countries by supporting private sector initiatives in the development process. The Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance, which regrouped several microfinance programmes previously undertaken by other agencies, began operations in February 2005.  Full information on the Aga Khan Development Network, Trust for Culture and Award for Architecture is available on the website –

For more information, please contact:

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture
P.O. Box 2049
1211 Geneva 2
Facsimile:        (41.22) 909.72.92