Wasit Wetland Centre in Sharjah by X Architects
Wasit Wetland Centre in Sharjah by X Architects

Aga Khan Award for Architecture announces 2019 shortlist

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture has announced the 20-project shortlist for its 2019 cycle. 

Competing for a $1 million cash prize, the projects are located around the world, with three from the UAE -- the country with the highest number of nominations. 

Founded by Aga Khan IV in 1977, the award has a three-year cycle and aims to identify and reward architectural concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of Islamic societies in the fields of contemporary design, social housing, community development and improvement, restoration, reuse and area conservation, as well as landscape design and improvement of the environment.

The projects that made the cut were completed between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2017, and had to have been in use for at least one year in order to be eligible.

This year's master jury includes Meisa Batayneh, founder and principal architect of maisam architects & engineers; Sir David Chipperfield, founder of David Chipperfield Architects; Elizabeth Diller, a founding partner of Diller Scofidio + Renfro; Edhem Eldem, a professor of history at Boğaziçi University (Istanbul) and the Collège de France; Mona Fawaz, a professor in Urban Studies and Planning at the Issam Fares Institute of Public Policy at the American University of Beirut; and many others. 

Here are some of the projects shortlisted for the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture: 

Revitalisation of Muharraq offers testimony on the pearl trade in the Arabian Peninsula over the centuries, especially when Bahrain thrived during the 19th century.

Old homes converted into cultural centres in Muharraq by Belgian architects OFFICE

Arcadia Education Project in South Kanarchor, a modular amphibious structure – incorporating space for a preschool, hostel, nursery and vocational training centre.

Amber Denim Loom Shed in Gazipur, a new design that combines traditional Bangladeshi residential architecture and contemporary elements in a large open space that accommodates machines, a buyers’ lounge, a dining space, a prayer area and washrooms.

Courtyard House Plugin in Beijing, a prefabricated modular system first developed as a prototype for installation within courtyard houses in the traditionally Muslim district of Dashilar, which is home to communities that do not have the means to renovate.

Before and after photos of a renovated home

Tadjourah SOS Children's Village, a design based on a traditional medina and layout of narrow streets that maximises shade and ventilation while providing shelter for the most vulnerable in society.

Warka Water, a prototype first implemented in Dorza, consists of an elegant triangular frame made out of local bamboo that encloses a thin polyester mesh, which captures droplets from high humidity in the air.

Enghelab Street Rehabilitation in Tehran, encompasses both the rehabilitation of the façades of 114 existing buildings and the creation of public cultural space between the national theatre and opera house.

Jarahieh School in Al-Marj, which provides educational facilities for children from 300 Syrian refugee families, creates a hub for community activities and offers the settlement’s only secure shelter in the event of a snowstorm or earthquake.

Muttrah Fish Market in Muscat, which highlights the region’s trade and fishing traditions while also catering to Oman’s growing tourism industry.

Palestinian Museum in Birzeit, which crowns a terraced hill overlooking the Mediterranean and is the recipient of the LEED Gold certification because of its sustainable construction.

Russian Federation
Tatarstan Public Spaces Development Programme, a programme that, to date, has improved 328 public spaces all over Tatarstan in areas ranging from major cities to small villages.

Beyazıt State Library Renovation in Istanbul, the renovation of a 19th century library – housed within a 16th century building – that displays rare manuscripts and architectural heritage.

Ashinaga Uganda Dormitory in Nansana, a residential school that prepares outstanding students from sub-Saharan Africa for entry into higher education.

United Arab Emirates
Concrete at Alserkal Avenue in Dubai, the major element of a former industrial complex that has organically grown into a cultural hub over the years.

Al Mureijah Art Spaces in Sharjah, the renovation of five dilapidated buildings that offered an urban and architectural setting for a contemporary art venue.

Wasit Wetland Centre in Sharjah, a design that transforms a wasteland into a wetland and functions as a catalyst for biodiversity and environmental education.