The Aga Khan Award for Architecture program has named five winning building concepts that address the needs and aspirations of societies with a significant Muslim presence. Given every three years, the award demonstrates excellence in architecture, planning practices, historic preservation, and landscape architecture. The selection process emphasizes architecture that provides for people's physical, social, and economic needs while responding to their cultural expectations.
The 2013 winning projects are:
Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery
Architect: Studio Tamassociati, Venice, Italy
Comprising a 63-bed hospital and separate resting quarters for medical staff, the Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery is designed as a pavilion in a garden with both primary buildings organized around large courtyards. Three operating theaters are placed in relation to the diagnostics laboratories and ward, while mixed modes of ventilation and natural light create intimate yet secure spaces. The design team decided to transform the empty containers used to transport the hospital’s construction materials into staff housing. Ninety 20-foot containers form the accommodation block with a bathroom and small veranda facing the garden; a cafeteria and services occupy seven 40-foot containers. The project’s outer skin comprises a ventilated metal roof and bamboo blinds, and a solar farm powers the water-heating system.
Architect: Bernardo Bader, Voralberg, Austria
Taking its inspiration from the site’s primordial garden, the cemetery consists of five staggered, rectangular gravesite enclosures delineated by roseate concrete walls and a structure housing space for assembly and prayer. The congregation space, featuring wooden latticework in geometric Islamic patterns, gives way to the courtyard. Meanwhile, the prayer room on the far side of the courtyard reprises the latticework theme with Kufic calligraphy in metal mesh on the qibla (the direction that should be faced when a Muslim prays) wall.
Rehabilitation of Tabriz Bazaar
Architect: ICHTO East Azerbaijan Office, Tabriz
For the 67-acre World Heritage complex of covered bazaars, the architectural team established three different protection areas: a nominated area, a buffer zone, and a landscape zone. The project includes improved infrastructure and new public facilities to complement the numerous bazaars that have been rehabilitated by owners and tenants since 2000.
Revitalization of Birzeit Historic Centre
Architect: Riwaq - Centre for Architectural Conservation, Ramallah, Palestine
Community involvement has been at the core of this five-year project, part of a rehabilitation master plan to transform the decaying town of Birzeit. Historic buildings and public spaces have found new life as community activity hubs, while elements such as floor tiles with Palestinian motifs re-create lost features. The project also incorporated affordable traditional techniques and local materials.
Rabat-Salé Urban Infrastructure Project
Architect: Marc Mimram Architecture, Paris
The Hassan II Bridge connects Rabat and Salé while reducing atmospheric and sound pollution in both cities’ historic sites and populations. The arced forms of the concrete supports appear delicate and lace-like without impeding the vertical dominance of Rabat’s 12th-century Hassan Tower.