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  • Mopti Grand Mosque, Mali
    Christian Richters
Aga Khan Award for Architecture helps launch network for architectural education in Africa; hosts conferences in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire

West Africa, 3-6 June 2012 – During an Aga Khan Award for Architecture conference on the state of architecture in Africa, the ArchiAfrika Educational Network was launched. The Network connects professionals, scholars and others working on the African built environment.

The conference, held in cooperation with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, was attended by 13 schools of architecture representing all the regions of the continent. The participants were joined by internationally renowned thinkers and practitioners.

The ArchiAfrika Educational Network will be based in Accra but will draw on architectural professionals from across the continent, from Morocco to South Africa. Mr. Abdelmoumen Benabdeljalil, from the Architecture School in Casablanca, Morocco, was appointed to lead the Network.

Mr. Benabdeljalil joins Prof. George Intsiful (KNUST – Ghana), Prof. Aletta Steenkamp (University of Cape Town – South Africa) and Dr. Lawrence Esho (Kenya Polytechnic University College) on a committee that will elaborate a programme consisting of an international lecture series that uses new technologies, innovative workshops, trainee and summer school programmes for staff and students.

The ArchiAfrika Educational Network aims to promote excellence among the next generation of professionals who will work in the African built environment. The parties agreed that strategies to address the challenges in the African built environment should be developed from within the continent and take a cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural approach. The parties also agreed that the Network should include the best contemporary practitioners in Africa.

The Award is promoting the creation of similar networks in other regions.

In Abidjan, the Award organised a one-day conference on the history of the Award and its current cycle, and an accompanying exhibition on the recipients of the 2010 Award at the headquarters of the National Order of Ivorian Architects in Abidjan. The exhibition is open to the public until 5 July 2012.

His Excellency Monsieur Maurice Kouakou Bandaman, Minister of Culture and Francophonie for Côte d’Ivoire, presided over the event, which brought together over 100 architects and associated professionals.
Speakers at the conference included the Vice President of the National Order of Ivorian Architects, Mrs Yolande Doukouré, and Mr. Luis Monreal, General Manager of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Mr. Monreal described the socio-economic impact of the Asian and African projects undertaken by the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme. Mr. Farrokh Derakshani, Director of the Award, announced the doubling of the Award’s prize to US$ 1 million and called for nominations for the 2013 cycle.

The conference was organised in collaboration with Mr. Francis Sossah, consulting architect for the Minister of Culture and consulting member of the International Union of Architects.

For more information, interviews and/or photos, please contact Tuuli Saarela,, +233 577 604 440 / +233 262 342 420.

ArchiAfrika Accra
40 4th Circular Road, PO box 1576
Cantonments, Accra, Ghana

For more information about the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, please contact:

Sam Pickens
Aga Khan Development Network
Address: 1-3 Avenue de la Paix, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland
Telephone: +41 22 909 72 77 Facsimile: +41 22 909 72 91
E-mail:   Website:  


The Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) 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 Award regularly organises seminars to explore contemporary issues affecting the built environment. The next prize will be awarded in 2013, and nominations are currently being accepted.