The recently published book Architecture is Life. The Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2013, features the five winning and 20 shortlisted projects from this prize which recognises excellence in the built environment in “societies with a Muslim presence”. Florian Heilmeyer of uncube enthuses as to why it is so much more than the book of a prize.
In many ways, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture is an exceptional prize in its field. Not only is it one of architecture’s oldest and most prestigious awards (which also comes with a remarkable amount prize money), it is also one of the very few that credits projects’ social impact more than their spectacular forms. Though the Award was established in 1977, earlier than the Pritzker Prize, in its ethics-over-aesthetics-attitude it feels much more up-to-date than the latter – and one automatically wonders, why the Pritzker is so much better known in the countries of the Global North.