Review and selection procedures
Award Master Jury and on-site project review
The review of projects and the selection of award recipients is the responsibility of an independent master jury specially appointed for each award cycle. Each jury is multidisciplinary, bringing together specialists in such fields as history, philosophy, art, engineering and architectural preservation, in addition to practising architects, landscape architects and urban planners.
For the Fourteenth cycle, the master jury will hold two meetings before arriving at its final decisions. At the first meeting, the jury reviews the nominated projects and selects a shortlist of approximately 20 projects that are then subject to on-site review by experts in the field, usually architects, engineers or urban planners selected by the Award office.
The on-site project reviewers are commissioned to examine each of the shortlisted projects in detail, verifying project data and seeking additional information such as user reactions. The reviewers are required to comment on a detailed set of criteria in their written reports, and must also respond to specific concerns and questions prepared by the master jury for each project. To ensure maximum objectivity, reviewers report on projects located outside their native countries.
At the second master jury meeting, the project reviewers make presentations on each of the shortlisted project to the master jury. After evaluating the projects, the master jury selects the award recipients and determines the apportionment of the US$ 1,000,000 prize fund. Since the success of a winning project may be the product of efforts by diverse individuals, groups and organisations, the master jury apportions prizes among the contributors – architects, other design and construction professionals, craftsmen, clients and institutions – whom it considers to have been most important to the success of each project. The decisions of the master jury are final.
Announcement of shortlisted projects and Award recipients
The projects shortlisted by the master jury are announced to the public at a press conference. Information on the projects is also disseminated through a broad campaign organized by the Award office. The shortlisted projects are also featured in the Award’s cyclical monograph and are presented at the award seminar, which is held at the end of the triennial cycle.
The award recipients selected by the master jury are announced a month prior to the ceremony that honours the winning projects and marks the close of each triennial cycle. Award ceremonies have always been held in places selected for their architectural significance: Shalimar Gardens in Lahore (1980), Topkapi Palace in Istanbul (1983), Badi' Palace in Marrakesh (1986), Saladin's Citadel in Cairo (1989), Registan Square in Samarkand (1992), Karaton Surakarta in Solo (1995), the Alhambra in Granada (1998), the Citadel of Aleppo (2001), the Gardens of Emperor Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi (2004), the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur (2007), the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha (2010), the Castelo São Jorge in Lisbon (2013), and the Jahili.Fort in Al Ain (2016)
Following each award ceremony, the steering committee organises a seminar to present the winning and shortlisted projects to a wider public and to provide a forum for the participants to debate the pressing concerns of the contemporary built environment. Post-ceremony events in the form of lectures and exhibitions are also held in the countries where the winning projects are located.
A major monograph containing descriptions and illustrations of the winning and shortlisted projects, reflections by master jury members on the decision-making process, and essays by members of the steering committee, is published on the occasion of the award ceremony.