Aga Khan Award for Architecture
Award Steering Committee
His Highness the Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. In the context of his hereditary responsibilities, His Highness has been deeply engaged with the development of countries around the world for close to 60 years through the work of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).
The AKDN is a group of private, international, non-denominational agencies working to improve living conditions and opportunities for people in specific regions of the developing world. The Network’s organisations have individual mandates that range from the fields of health and education to architecture, rural development and the promotion of private-sector enterprise.
Together, they work towards a common goal – to build institutions and programmes that can respond to the challenges of social, economic and cultural change on an on-going basis. The AKDN works in close partnership with public and private institutions, including amongst others, governments, international organisations, companies, foundations, and universities.
AKDN’s social development agencies include the Aga Khan Health Services, Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, Aga Khan Education Services, Aga Khan Academies, the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance, the Aga Khan Foundation, Focus Humanitarian Assistance as well as two universities, the Aga Khan University and the University of Central Asia. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture co-ordinates AKDN’s cultural activities, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Historic Cities Programme, Aga Khan Music Initiative, Aga Khan Museum, and Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (at Harvard and MIT). The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) is a for-profit development agency dedicated to building enterprises in tourism, banking, insurance, media, aviation, industry and infrastructure. AKFED reinvests profits in further development initiatives.
The Ismaili Muslims are a global, multi-ethnic community whose members, comprising a wide diversity of cultures, languages and nationalities, live in Central Asia, the Middle East, South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and North America.
The Aga Khan succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, as Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims in 1957 at the age of 20. Since taking on his role in 1957, he has dedicated his efforts to improving the quality of life of the most vulnerable populations, while emphasising the view of Islam as a thinking, spiritual faith: one that teaches compassion and tolerance and that upholds human dignity.
In recognition of his exceptional efforts and contributions to human development and improving the social condition of societies globally, the Aga Khan has, over the last six decades, received numerous decorations, honorary degrees, and awards from institutions and nations across the world.
David Adjaye is founder and principal architect of Adjaye Associates, which was established in June 2000 and currently has offices in London, New York, and Accra. He was born in Tanzania in 1966. After gaining a Bachelor of Architecture from London South Bank University, he graduated with a master’s degree in architecture from the Royal College of Art in 1993, where he won the RIBA Bronze Medal. His completed works include: the Sugar Hill affordable housing project in Harlem, New York City (2015); two community libraries in Washington DC (2012); the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO (2010); The Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo (2005); the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver (2007); and the Idea Stores (libraries) in London’s Tower Hamlets (2005). The practice is currently engaged in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C, due to open in 2016.
Mr. Adjaye’s belief in working together with partners has led to a number of notable collaborations on both building projects and exhibitions. His photographic survey of 52 cities across the continent of Africa, Urban Africa, exhibited at the Design Museum London (2010), has shifted the understanding of Africa’s metropolitan centres. His first midcareer retrospective exhibition, entitled Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye, is currently running at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Mr. Adjaye is currently the John C. Portman Design Critic in Architecture at Harvard University. He is a RIBA Chartered Member, an AIA Honorary Fellow, a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was awarded an OBE for services to architecture in 2007 and is the 2015 recipient of the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Chicago Architectural Biennale.
Mr. Adjaye was a member of the 2013 Master Jury for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
Mohammad al-Asad is a Jordanian architect and architectural historian. He is the founding director of the Center for the Study of the Built Environment in Amman. Dr. al-Asad studied architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and history of architecture at Harvard University, before taking post-doctoral research positions at Harvard and at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. He has taught at the University of Jordan, Princeton University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was the Alan K. and Leonarda Laing Distinguished Visiting Professor. He was also an adjunct professor at Carleton University in Ottawa.
Dr. al-Asad has published in both Arabic and English on the architecture of the Islamic world, in books and academic and professional journals. He is the author of Old Houses of Jordan: Amman 1920-1950 (1997) and Contemporary Architecture and Urbanism in the Middle East (2012); and co-author (with Ghazi Bisheh and Fawzi Zayadine) of The Umayyads: The Rise of Islamic Art (2000) and (with Sahel Al Hiyari and Álvaro Siza) Sahel Al Hiyari Projects (2005). He is the editor of Workplaces: The Transformation of Places of Production: Industrialization and the Built Environment in the Islamic World (2010), and co-editor (with Majd Musa) of Architectural Journalism and Criticism: Global Perspectives (2007), Exploring the Built Environment (2007) and Contemporary Architecture and Urbanism in the Middle East (2012).
Dr. al-Asad has been a member of the board of directors of organisations including the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts (part of the Royal Society for Fine Arts), the Jordan Museum, and the Royal Institute of Inter-Faith Studies in Amman. He served as project reviewer for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture during the 1989, 1995, 1998, 2004 and 2007 cycles and was a member of the Award Steering Committee in 2010 and 2013.
Francesco Bandarin is an architect and urban planner. He graduated in architecture from the Institute of Architecture of Venice (IUAV) and has a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley. He is Professor of Urban Planning and Conservation at IUAV, where he has taught since 1980.
Mr. Bandarin served as Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and Secretary of the World Heritage Convention from 2000 to 2011, and as Assistant Director-General for Culture at UNESCO from 2010 until his retirement in 2014. During this time he coordinated several important conservation projects in Cairo, Jerusalem, Angkor, Axum and Afghanistan, among many others, and encouraged reflection on urban conservation issues that led to the adoption of the UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape in 2011. As Assistant Director-General for Culture he was responsible for the management of six international treaties on heritage and for operational activities in the areas of tangible and intangible heritage. Mr. Bandarin is currently Special Advisor to the Director General of UNESCO.
Mr. Bandarin has served on numerous international juries and committees. In 2014, he was President of the Jury of the “New Ideas” prize of the Bordeaux Architectural Biennale, and President of the Jury of the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale. In 2015 he was appointed President of the Jury of the First Shenzen Creative Design Award (SCDA); elected President of the Italian Association of Historic Cities (ANCSA); and appointed as a member of the Visiting Committee of the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles.
Mr. Bandarin is Editor-in-Chief of the international journal City, Culture and Society, published by Elsevier. His recent publications include The Historic Urban Landscape: Managing Heritage in an Urban Century (2012) and Reconnecting the City: The Historic Urban Landscape Approach and the Future of Urban Heritage (2014).
Hanif Kara is a practicing structural engineer and Adjunct Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. His work is recognised as being linked with the research and education areas of design. He co-tutored a diploma unit at the Architectural Association in London from 2000 to 2004, and was Visiting Professor of Architectural Technology at KTH Stockholm from 2007 to 2012. As design director and co-founder of the structural engineering firm AKTII (founded in 1996), his particular “design-led” approach and interest in innovative form, sustainable construction and complex analysis methods have allowed him to work on pioneering projects such as Phaeno Science Centre, Peckham Library and MIST at Masdar City. The practice has won more than 250 design awards including the RIBA Stirling Prize for the Peckham Library, London (2000) and the Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge (2012), as well as the RIBA Lubetkin Prize for the UK Pavilion at Shanghai Expo (2010).
Professor Kara’s career extends beyond the structural engineering disciplines. He was the first engineer to serve as a judge for the annual RIBA Stirling Prize 2011. He is on the Board of Trustees of the Architecture Foundation and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2007. From 2008 to 2011 he served as a commissioner for CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment). He also served as one of 15 members of the Design for London Advisory Group to the Mayor of London (2007-2008). He has published and lectured widely on issues of design and has edited the volumes Design Engineering (2008) and Interdisciplinary Design: New Lessons from Architecture and Engineering (2012).
Professor Kara was on the Master Jury for the 2004 cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, and served as a project reviewer in 2007, 2010 and 2013.
Kamil Merican is the founding partner of GDP Architects Malaysia, which has gained a reputation as one of Malaysia’s leading design and architecture firms. Mr. Merican graduated in architecture from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and the Architectural Association in London. After graduating, he worked with Sir Terry Farrell and Sir Nicholas Grimshaw in London. In 1976, on his return to Malaysia, he taught in the faculty of architecture at the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
As GDP’s principal design partner, Mr. Merican has been involved in all the firm’s major projects. The projects have won a number of awards, including 12 from PAM (the Malaysian Institute of Architects), a RIBA award (jointly with Foster + Partners), and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2007, for the University of Technology Petronas in Tronoh, Malaysia (also with Foster + Partners).
Mr. Merican has served as a member of the steering committee for the Greater Kuala Lumpur Council since 2010. He remains active in architectural education, serving as an external examiner for the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Universiti Malaya. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Architecture at Universiti Malaya.
Mr. Merican was a member of the 2013 Master Jury for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and a recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2007.
Azim Nanji was born in Nairobi, Kenya and attended schools in Kenya and Tanzania before graduating from Makerere University in Uganda. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in Islamic Studies from McGill University in Canada.
Professor Nanji is currently Special Advisor to the Provost at the Aga Khan University, and a Member of the Board of Directors of the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa, a joint partnership between His Highness the Aga Khan and the Government of Canada. He has held many prestigious academic and administrative appointments, most recently as Senior Associate Director of the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University, where he was also lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies. From 1998 to 2008, Professor Nanji served as Director of the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London. In 1988 he was Margaret Gest Visiting Professor at Haverford College, Pennsylvania, USA, and from 1989 to 1998 he was Professor and Chair of the Department of Religion at the University of Florida.
Professor Nanji has published numerous books and articles on religion, Islam and Ismailism. His publications include a monograph on the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Building for Tomorrow (Academy Editions, 1994).
Within the Aga Khan Development Network, Professor Nanji has served as a member of the task force for the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations (AKU-ISMC), and Vice Chair of the Madrasa-based Early Childhood Education Programme in East Africa. He served as a member of the Steering Committee of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1998 and 2001, and was a member of the Award Master Jury in 1992.
Gülru Necipoğlu has been Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art at Harvard University since 1993 where she earned her PhD in 1986 under the tutelage of Professor Oleg Grabar. She specialises in the medieval and early modern periods, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean basin and Eastern Islamic lands.
Professor Necipoğlu is the editor of Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Cultures of the Islamic World. Her books include Architecture, Ceremonial Power: The Topkapi Palace (1991); The Topkapi Scroll, Geometry and Ornament in Islamic Architecture (1995); and The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire (2005). Her Topkapi Scroll won the Albert Hourani and the Spiro Kostoff book awards. The Age of Sinan has been awarded the Fuat Köprülü Book Prize.
Professor Necipoğlu is an elected fellow of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Archittettura Andrea Palladio in Vicenza. Her articles include interpretations of monuments such as the Dome of the Rock, Suleymaniye Mosque and Topkapi Palace; Ottoman visual culture; comparative studies on the three early modern Islamic empires (Safavid, Mughal, Ottoman); and artistic exchanges between Byzantium, Renaissance Italy, and the Islamic lands. Her publications also address questions of pre-modern architectural practice, plans and drawings, the aesthetics of abstract ornament and geometric design. Her critical interests encompass methodological and historiographical issues in modern constructions of the field of Islamic art.
Brigitte Shim is a principal in the Toronto-based design firm Shim-Sutcliffe Architects and, since 1988, a Professor at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto.
Brigitte Shim and her partner A. Howard Sutcliffe’s design practice, Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, was founded in 1994 and reflects their shared interest and passion for the integration and interrelated scales of architecture, landscape and interior and industrial design. To date, they have received thirteen Governor General’s Medals and Awards for Architecture and an American Institute of Architects National Honor Award, along with many other professional accolades for their built work.
At the University of Toronto, Professor Shim is engaged in core design studios, advanced design studios as well as teaching courses in the History and Theory of Landscape Architecture. She has held many prestigious visiting professorships, most recently as the 2014 Eero Saarinen Visiting Professor at Yale University’s School of Architecture, and (with Sutcliffe) the 2014 University of Auckland Distinguished Visitors’ Award at the School of Architecture and Planning in the National Institute for Creative Arts and Industries.
Professor Shim has lectured widely and participated in invited international design juries and symposia around the world. She has also served on Canada’s National Capital Commission Architectural Advisory Board for over a decade.
Professor Shim is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (FRAIC), an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (Hon FAIA) and an elected member of the Royal Canadian Academy (RCA). In 2013, Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe were awarded the Order of Canada, along with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Professor Shim was a member of the 2007 Master Jury for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and an on-site reviewer during the 2010 Award cycle.
Yu Kongjian is founder and dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape and the Changjiang Chair Professor of Design, at Peking University. He received a Doctor of Design from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1995, and taught there from 2009 to 2014. Professor Yu is the founder, president and principal designer of Turenscape, an internationally recognized firm of landscape architecture and urbanism practices worldwide. His projects have received numerous international awards for their ecologically sound and culturally sensitive design, including the 2009 ULI Global Award for Excellence, the 2015 national Energy Globe Award (Energy Globe Foundation) and 12 ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) Awards. He is a three-time winner of the World Landscape Award at the World Architectural Festival, and was awarded the National Gold Medal of Fine Arts by the Cultural Ministry of China in 2004.
The most recent monograph on Professor Yu’s work is Designed Ecologies: The Landscape Architecture of Kongjian Yu (William Saunders ed., 2012). His projects have been reviewed and featured in hundreds of magazine and journal articles worldwide, including comprehensive coverage in ASLA Landscape Architecture Magazine in 2012. More than ten of his projects have been included in the textbook Landscape Architecture, Fifth Edition (2013) by Stark and Simonds.
Professor Yu is a global lecturer and prolific publisher who founded the magazine: Landscape Architecture Frontier (and Landscape Architecture China). He has written 25 books and over 300 papers. His current publications include The Beautiful Big Foot, Landscape as Ecological Infrastructure and The Art of Survival. He has lectured worldwide and was keynote speaker for the 40th, 43rd, 46th, 48th and 52nd IFLA World Congress, and the 2006 and 2008 annual conferences of ASLA.
Professor Yu was a member of the 2010 Master Jury for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture Master Jury
Aga Khan Award for Architecture Website
2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture Winners
2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture Nominated Projects
Compiled for Ismailimail by Arif Ali