Twentieth Anniversary for Architecture Group Begins with Aga Khan Award Lecture

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Aga Khan Award
Issam Fares Institute in Beirut, Lebanon, by Zaha Hadid Architects. Photo: AKTC-Cemal Emden

The Dallas Architecture Forum will launch its twentieth-anniversary season next week with a lecture about the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Aga Khan Award
Shiraz Allibhai. Photo: Aga Khan Trust

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is given every three years to projects that set new standards of excellence in architecture, planning practices, historic preservation, and landscape architecture. Through its efforts, the award seeks to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of societies across the world in which Muslims have a significant presence.

The winners of this triennial competition, with a grand prize of $1 million, were recently announced. They include projects by internationally known firms such as Zaha Hadid Architects and BIG Architects, as well as those by rising talent from countries around the world. Winning projects are located in China, Bangladesh, Iran, Lebanon, and Denmark.

The International Deputy Director of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Shiraz Allibhai, will come from Geneva, Switzerland, to make this presentation.

Aga Kahn Award
The Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge in Tehran, Iran. Photo: AKTC-Bazin Baharlouie

The lecture begins on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St. There will be a pre-lecture reception in the museum’s atrium beginning at 6:15 p.m.

As a community outreach, the event will be free and open to the public, with no reservations needed. Oversized panels of the winning projects, along with 13 additional shortlisted projects, will be on display during the pre-lecture reception and immediately following the lecture.

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is unique among architecture prizes: it selects projects – from slum upgrading to high rise “green” buildings – that not only exhibit architectural excellence but also improve the overall quality of life. Over the last four decades, it has steadfastly championed the needs and aspirations of human beings within the practice of architecture. The award is also different because it not only rewards architects but also identifies municipalities, builders, clients, master craftsmen and engineers who have played important roles in the realization of a project. 

The 2016 winners for this cycle’s Aga Khan Award for Architecture are:  
  • Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, Dhaka (Architect: Marina Tabassum), a refuge for spirituality in urban Dhaka, selected for its beautiful use of natural light.  
  • Friendship Centre, Gaibandha (Architect: Kashef Chowdhury / URBANA), a community center which makes a virtue of an area susceptible to flooding in rural Bangladesh.
  • Hutong Children’s Library and Art Centre, Beijing (Architect: ZAO / standard architecture / Zhang Ke), a children’s library selected for its embodiment of contemporary life in the traditional courtyard residences of Beijing.
  • Superkilen, Copenhagen (Architects: BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, Topotek 1 and Superflex),  a public space promoting integration across lines of ethnicity, religion and culture.
  • Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge, Tehran (Architect: Diba Tensile Architecture / Leila Araghian, Alireza Behzadi), a multi-level bridge spanning a busy motorway has created a dynamic new urban space.                                                                                                 
  •  Issam Fares Institute, Beirut (Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects), a new building for the American University of Beirut’s campus, radical in composition but respectful of its traditional context.

For more information on the Dallas Architecture Forum, visit or call 214-764-2406.


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Leah Shafer

Leah Shafer is a content and social media specialist, as well as a Dallas native, who lives in Richardson with her family. In her sixth-grade yearbook, Leah listed "interior designer" as her future profession. Now she writes about them, as well as all things real estate, for

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