- Article by Online Editor
The five recipients of the 2010 Aga Khan Award for Architecture were announced at a ceremony at the Museum of Islamic Art on 24 November.
Established in 1977 by His Highness the Aga Khan and held every three years, the Award identifies architectural excellence in predominantly Muslim societies.
This year, the five winning projects were selected from 401 applications by a jury including luminaries such as artist Anish Kapoor, architect Jean Nouvel and design critic Alice Rawsthorn.
The winning projects include the transformation of a valley in Saudi Arabia, a school built as a bridge in China, a museum in Spain, the restored city of Tunis in Tunisia and a textile factory in Turkey.
The Wadi Hanifa Wetlands in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia planned by Moriyama & Teshima Planners Limited & Buro Happold in joint venture focuses on environmental and sustainable urban development.
The jury said the Wetlands eloquently demonstrates an alternative ecological way of urban development. It shows how a major natural phenomenon which, through the course of urbanisation, became a litter-strewn and dangerous place a scar on the face of the capital city can be transformed by sensitive planning attentive to social values and imaginative infrastructure- driven landscape solutions.
Li Xiaodong Ateliers project Bridge School in Xiashi, Fujian, China was awarded for the modern structure of the school that links the two sides of the village separated by a creek. The simple, modern and lightweight structure connects the village, creating spatial unity between the riverbanks and providing formal unity between traditional and modern building forms, said the jury.
Madinat Al-Zahra Museum in Cordoba, Spain, by Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos S.L.P, Fuensanta Nieto & Enrique Sobejano was also recognised for the design that blends into the landscape and captures the essence of Islamic culture in one of the most significant early Islamic archaeological sites in the world.
The remaining two awarded projects were the Revitalisation of the Hypercentre of Tunis, Tunisia by Association de Sauvegarde de la Médina de Tunis, and the Ipekyol Textile Factory, Edirne, Turkey by Emre Arolat Architects.
The transformation of Tunis was described as an important and inspiring contribution to our changing understanding of the recent history of the Islamic world, particularly of the cultural legacy of the colonial era.