What you need to know:
- Nineteen projects were shortlisted for the 2016 award, out of 348 nominations.
- Among the winning projects is the Bait Ur Rouf Mosque in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
- Another winner in the architectural award is the Tabiat pedestrian bridge in Tehran, Iran.
- From Lebanon, the Issam Fares Institute in Beirut also made it to the finals in the 2016 architectural awards.
Six winners of the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture have been announced in a ceremony held in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi.
Nineteen projects were shortlisted for the 2016 award, out of 348 nominations.
Buildings meant for community use or general public spaces stood out.
The winning projects are in Denmark, China, Iran, Lebanon and Bangladesh.
The award, given every three years, is considered one of the most important in the architectural field.
The winners will be celebrated on November 6 in Al Ain.
The award was established by the Aga Khan in 1977 to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully addressed the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence.
Among the winners are two projects in Bangladesh.
The Bait Ur Rouf Mosque in Dhaka stood out as an architectural masterpiece.
Dubbed a refuge for spirituality in urban Dhaka, the mosque was selected for its beautiful use of natural light.
The mosque was constructed between September 2007 and July 2012.
In their citation, the jury called the mosque’s design one that “challenges the status quo and understands that a space for prayer should elevate the spirit.”
Also in Bangladesh, the Friendship Centre in the rural town of Gaibandha has also stood out in its mastery of architecture.
Built in a flood-prone area, the centre is a training facility for the NGO Friendship, which works with communities living in the rural flatlands of northern Bangladesh.
Permanent buildings in the area are conventionally raised 2.4m above the ground to mitigate flooding.
But for the Friendship Centre, an earthen embankment was built around the site, with stairs leading down into the building from open ends as the budget did not allow for raising the building like others in the region.
“Looking at the sunken brick compound of the Friendship Centre, one is reminded of the archaeological remains of the nearby Vasu Bihara Buddhist temple, built during the third and fourth century,” the jury said.
China’s Hutong Children’s Library and Art Centre in Beijing is also a finalist in the 2016 award.
The jury said it was selected “for its embodiment of contemporary life in the traditional courtyard residences of Beijing’s Hutongs.”
“The Micro Yuan’er Children’s Library and Art Centre is an exemplary representative of the modification and adaptive re-use of a historic building,” the jury said.
Superkilen, a public place in Copenhagen, Denmark, is another winner in the 2016 awards.
It is a kilometre-long urban park located in Nørrebro, a diverse and socially challenged neighbourhood of Copenhagen.
“Superkilen, a new urban park in one of Copenhagen’s most diverse and socially challenged neighbourhoods, emphatically rejects this view with a powerful mixture of humour, history and hubris,” read the jury’s citation.
Another winner in the architectural award is the Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge in Tehran, Iran.
This is a multilevel bridge crossing over a busy motorway and connects two parks.
Besides being a popular gathering place for the people of Tehran, the bridge has seating areas over its three levels and restaurants at either end.
“Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise austere and haphazardly built area of Tehran,” the jury said in their citation.
From Lebanon, the Issam Fares Institute in Beirut also made it to the finals in the 2016 architectural awards.
It is a new building for the Beirut campus of American University.
The jury said the building “with its contemporary form and the purity of its architectural language [it] differentiates itself from its neighbours, though it is not in conflict with the campus and its architecture.”