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Leisure projects dominate Aga Khan Architecture Award winners' list

Four of the six winners of this year’s Aga Khan Award for Architecture are leisure projects.

The prestigious prize, which is given every three years, celebrates designs that improve quality of life and address the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence.

A shortlist of 19 projects – derived from over 300 submissions – was considered by a Master Jury, with each building investigated by architects, conservation specialists or structural engineers.

The jury settled on six winners, the following of which fall into the category of leisure:

Friendship Centre, Gaibandha, Bangladesh. Designed by architects Kashef Chowdhury and URBANA

A community centre which makes a virtue of an area susceptible to flooding in rural Bangladesh.

Friendship Centre

Jury citation: “The Friendship Centre blurs the boundaries between an archaeological site and an architectural and landscape project. Through its configuration and its use of grassed rooftops it becomes part and parcel of the surrounding landscape.

"This grounding is both literal and metaphorical. The quadrilateral layout and the skilful brickwork reflect continuity with local architectural traditions.”

Micro Yuan’er Children’s Library and Art Centre, Beijing, China. Designed by ZAO, standardarchitecture and Zhang Ke

A children’s library selected for its embodiment of contemporary life in the traditional courtyard residences of Beijing’s Hutongs.

Micro Yuan’er Children’s Library and Art Centre

Jury citation: “This is an exemplary representative of the modification and adaptive re-use of a historic building. In Beijing, as in other places, a growing number of hutongs are being restored. But this hutong is not a typical restoration project.

"By providing new structures and new public uses in the middle of the building’s courtyard, it entwines the private lives of the older inhabitants with the public use of a new children’s library and art centre."

Superkilen, Copenhagen, Denmark. Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, Topotek 1 and Superflex

A public space promoting integration across lines of ethnicity, religion and culture. The park takes the historical themes of the universal garden and the amusement park and translates them into a contemporary urban setting.


Jury citation: “It is at once a highly personal yet deeply collective experience, marrying the experiences of migration with an eclectic assembly of displaced objects and innovative landscaping. Here architecture, landscape and art are fused in a truly interdisciplinary manner, providing new opportunities for shared public engagement.

"A number of different activities – cycling, walking, basketball, hockey – are offered in three separate but connected parks which together form a continuous surface with a marketplace, cafés, retail spaces and open-air gathering spots. In this way, the urban park becomes a public ‘stage’ where neighbours, strangers and visitors meet.”

Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge, Tehran, Iran. Designed by Diba Tensile Architecture, Leila Araghian and Alireza Behzadi

A multi-level bridge spanning a busy motorway that has created a dynamic new urban space.

Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge

Jury citation: “The apparent reinterpretation of the original brief, which called for a straightforward connection between two parks, has transformed a ‘bridge’ into a ‘destination’. Inviting people to congregate, interact and appreciate the vista in every direction, the bridge has become a promenade and one of the most successful public spaces in modern Tehran.”

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was founded by Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini, otherwise known as Aga Khan IV. He is the current Imam of the Nizari Ismailis, a figurehead for a branch of Shia Islam.

Leisure projects  Aga Khan Architecture Award  Micro Yuan’er Children’s Library and Art Centre  Superkilen  Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge  Friendship Centre 
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10 May 2016

Leisure projects named on shortlist for 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture

Four of the six winners of this year’s Aga Khan Award for Architecture are leisure projects. The prestigious prize, which is given every three years, celebrates designs that improve quality of life and address the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence. A shortlist of 19 projects – derived from over 300 submissions – was considered by a Master Jury, with each building investigated by
Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge in Tehran is one of the winners of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture / Aga Khan Award for Architecture
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