Aga Khan Award for Architecture announces start of 2023-25 nomination cycle in Singapore

The seminar on 28 Nov discussed critical issues on the built environment and sustainability

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) hosted a two-part seminar at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) on 28 Nov 2023.

During the evening of presentations on the latest cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) critical issues of the built environment, sustainability, and heritage with case studies from around the world were also discussed. The seminar coincides with the week-long World Architecture Festival 2023 in Singapore, featuring presentations by hundreds of renowned architects and upcoming designers.

“Singapore is the hotbed of sustainability, conservation and world-class architecture, which has produced exemplars such as WOHA architects and Kerry Hill Architects who have won awards at previous award cycles,” said Farrokh Derakhshani, director of the AKAA.

“The Southeast Asian region is increasingly finding its niche in the global environment, and we are pleased to have had representatives in previous AKAA Master Juries.”

An exhibition of 2022 award winners will be on display at SUTD till 28 December 2023.

The panels of stellar architects include the most recent and past award winners, academics, and practitioners from South East Asia included Andra Matin from andramatin; Daliana Suryawinata from SHAU; Dr Chong Keng Hua from SUTD; Wong Mun Summ from WOHA Architects; Kamil Merican from GDP Architects, I-Jin Chew from WATG and Wimberly Interiors; Dr Imran Tajuddin from National University of Singapore (NUS); and moderators Dr Hossein Rezai from Ramboll & Milan Research Lab, and Sarah Ichioka from Desire Lines.

The event was attended by approximately 300 delegates from architecture, sustainability, civil society, and the diplomatic community, supported by DesignSingapore Council, Ismaili CIVIC, SUTD, Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects and Singapore Institute of Architects.

At the Singapore event, Derakhshani also officially announced that the nomination process for the 2023-2025 Award Cycle was now open. He further explained that, to be eligible for consideration in the 2025 Award cycle, projects must be completed between 1 Jan 2018 and 31 Dec 2023 and should have been in use for at least one full year.

Event partner, Ismaili CIVIC contributed to help make the seminar as sustainable as possible. They consciously aspired to reduce carbon footprint by arranging 100% electric bus transportation for 150 delegates from four locations across Singapore.

They also organised post-event car pool stations on-site, gifted plants used for the event forward to SUTD to sequester carbon emission produced and curated zero waste, plant-based catering.

The audience and vendors were encouraged to share their carbon emissions to help assess the total footprint. Findings and solutions were presented during the closing remarks by Ismaili CIVIC Singapore representative, Akbar Makani.

Farrokh Derakhshani, director of the AKAA, leading the guests on an exhibition tour in SUTD

Established in 1977, the AKAA is given every three years to projects that set new standards of excellence in architecture, planning practices, historic preservation and landscape architecture.

The award seeks projects that represent the broadest possible range of architectural interventions, with attention given to building schemes that use local resources and appropriate technology in innovative ways, and those that are likely to inspire similar efforts elsewhere. Projects can be anywhere in the world but must successfully address the needs and aspirations of societies in which Muslims have a significant presence.

The AKAA has completed 15 cycles of activity since 1977 and has documented over 9,000 building projects throughout the world. It has a prize fund of $1m.

The winners who shared this prize during the last cycle in 2022 were: Urban River Spaces and Community Spaces in Rohingya Refugee Response (Bangladesh); Banyuwangi International Airport (Indonesia); Argo Contemporary Art Museum (Iran); the renovation of Niemeyer Guest house (Lebanon); and Kamanar Secondary School (Senegal).

This cycle’s Award Steering Committee, chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan include:

  • Meisa Batayneh, Principal Architect, Founder, maisam architects and engineers, Amman, Jordan
  • Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Professor in the departments of French and Philosophy, Columbia University, New York, US
  • Lesley Lokko, Founder & Director, African Futures Institute, Accra, Ghana
  • Gülru Necipoğlu, Director and Professor of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, Harvard University, Cambridge, US
  • Hashim Sarkis, Dean, School of Architecture and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, US
  • Sarah M Whiting, Dean, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Cambridge, US