Review of a Few of the Structures Shortlisted Aga Khan Award for Architecture

Aesthetic and utility – a blend of both these features give a unique characteristic to the buildings. Add sustainability to it and you get the perfect piece of art that will adorn this earth for years. Aga Khan Award for Architecture is awarded every three years for excellence in architecture and it selects projects 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.

348 projects were in the running for the nomination of this awards out of which only 19 made the cut. The 19 shortlisted structures are now undergoing scrutiny by experts after which one winner will be selected and it will be entitled for US$ 1 million in prize money.

Following are a few of the projects that are worth checking out:

  1. The historic Makoko water community, which has been battling challenges posed by the rising water level, will be benefited by this floating school. This is a prototype floating structure, located on the lagoon heart of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos. It has taken an innovative approach to address the community’s social and physical needs in view of the impact of climate change and a rapidly urbanizing African context. Its main aim is to generate a sustainable, ecological, alternative building system and urban water culture for the teeming population of Africa’s coastal regions.

  1. Simplicity is the intent, monastic is the feel of this Friendship Centre located close to Mahasthangahr, the earliest urban archaeological site yet found in Bangladesh. The local hand-made brick construction has been inspired by the monastic aesthetic of the 3rd century BC ruins. It is built in an agricultural area susceptible to flooding and earthquakes, and whose low-bearing soil has a low bearing capacity. As a result, an embankment has been constructed with a water run-off pumping facility. Constructed and finished primarily of one material – local hand-made bricks – the spaces are woven out of pavilions, courtyards, pools and greens, corridors and shadows.

  1. In a time when government and developers are focussed on building major commercial infrastructure projects, it’s refreshing to see someone dedicating so much effort for open spaces. Superkilenis a public park in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen, Denmark. The Park is intended to celebrate diversity as it is filled with objects from around the globe; it is designed as a kind of world exposition for the local inhabitants, covering over 60 nationalities, who have been able to contribute their own ideas and artefacts to the project. The park boasts of being entirely green and it comprises swings from Iraq, benches from Brazil, a fountain from Morocco, litter bins from England and 108 plants and artefacts illustrating the ethnic diversity of the local population.

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