Shortlist for 2019 Aga Khan Award

John Hill
25. April 2019
Concrete at Alserkal Avenue (Photo: Cemal Emden © Aga Khan Trust for Culture)

Twenty projects have been shortlisted for the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, culled from hundreds of projects nominated for the 14th cycle of the prestigious $1 million award.

The Aga Khan Award takes place every three years "to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence." 

Eligible projects span the whole built environment, be it contemporary design, social housing, community improvement and development, historic preservation, reuse and area conservation, as well as landscape design and improvement of the environment. Projects had to be completed between the first day of 2012 and last day of 2017, and in use for at least a year.

For the 2017-2019 cycle, the 20 shortlisted projects selected by the jury* come from 16 countries, as listed below. Some projects are highlighted with photographs, but a visit to the 2019 Aga Khan Award website is recommended to learn more about the shortlisted projects.

The announcement of the winners will be made in the fall.

Amber Denim Loom Shed (Photo: Sandro di Carlo Darsa © Aga Khan Trust for Culture)


  • Revitalization of Muharraq, offers testimony on the pearl trade in the Arabian Peninsula over the centuries, especially when Bahrain thrived during the 19th century.



  • Arcadia Education Project, in South Kanarchor, a modular amphibious structure – incorporating space for a preschool, a hostel, a nursery and a vocational training centre – which is tied down on a riverine site that is often flooded for five months every year.
  • Amber Denim Loom Shed, in Gazipur, a new design that combines traditional Bangladeshi residential architecture and contemporary elements in a large open space that accommodates machines, a buyers’ lounge, a dining space, a prayer area and washrooms.



  • Courtyard House Plugin, in Beijing, a prefabricated modular system first developed as a prototype for installation within courtyard houses in the traditionally Muslim district of Dashilar, which is home to communities who do not have the means to renovate.


  • Tadjourah SOS Children's Village, a design based on a traditional medina and a layout of narrow streets that maximises shade and ventilation while providing shelter for the most vulnerable in society.


Courtyard House Plugin (Photo © People's Architecture Office)


  • Warka Water, a prototype first implemented in Dorza, consists of an elegant triangular frame made out of local bamboo that encloses a thin polyester mesh – which captures droplets from high humidity in the air.



  • Enghelab Street Rehabilitation, in Tehran, encompasses both the rehabilitation of the façades of 114 existing buildings and the creation of public cultural space between the national theatre and opera house.



  • Taman Bima Microlibrary, in Bandung, aims to help combat Indonesia’s low literacy rates by adding a microlibrary above a pre-existing stage used for community events.
  • AM Residence, in Jakarta, a design inspired by Indonesian vernacular stilt houses that favour natural ventilation; walls are minimised and windows kept simple for a seamless interior-to-exterior relationship.



  • Jarahieh School, in Al-Marj, which provides educational facilities for children from 300 Syrian refugee families, creates a hub for community activities and offers the settlement’s only secure shelter in the event of snowstorm or earthquake.


Taman Bima Microlibrary (Photo: Cemal Emden © Aga Khan Trust for Culture)


  • Muttrah Fish Market, in Muscat, which highlights the region’s trade and fishing traditions while also catering to Oman’s growing tourism industry.



  • Palestinian Museum, in Birzeit, which crowns a terraced hill overlooking the Mediterranean and is the recipient of the LEED Gold certification because of its sustainable construction.



  • Msheireb Museums, in Doha, which incorporates four historic courtyard houses dating from the early 20th century that together comprise an element of the cultural development of downtown Doha.



  • Tatarstan Public Spaces Development Programme, a programme that, to date, has improved 328 public spaces all over Tatarstan in areas ranging from major cities to small villages.



  • Alioune Diop University Lecture Building in Bambey, where a scarcity of resources led to the use of bioclimatic strategies: a large double roof canopy and latticework that avoids direct solar radiation but allows air to flow through it.


Msheireb Museums (Photo: Cemal Emden © Aga Khan Trust for Culture)


  • Beyazıt State Library Renovation, in Istanbul, the renovation of a 19th century library – housed within a 16th century building – that displays rare manuscripts and architectural heritage. 



  • Ashinaga Uganda Dormitory, in Nansana, a residential school that prepares outstanding students from sub-Saharan Africa for entry into higher education.



  • Concrete at Alserkal Avenue, in Dubai, the major element of a former industrial complex that has been transformed into a cultural hub.
  • Al Mureijah Art Spaces, in Sharjah, the renovation of five dilapidated buildings that offered the perfect urban and architectural setting for a contemporary art venue.
  • Wasit Wetland Centre, in Sharjah, a design that transforms a wasteland into a wetland and functions as a catalyst for biodiversity and environmental education.


Wasit Wetland Centre (Photo: Nelson Garrido © X-Architects)
*The nine members of the 2019 Master Jury:

  • Anthony Kwamé Appiah, an Anglo-Ghanaian American philosopher
  • Meisa Batayneh, founder and principal architect of maisam architects & engineers
  • Sir David Chipperfield, whose practice has built over 100 projects for both the private and public sectors
  • Elizabeth Diller, a founding partner of a design studio whose practice spans the fields of architecture multi-media performance and digital media
  • Edhem Eldem, a Professor of History at Boğaziçi University (Istanbul) and the Collège de France
  • Mona Fawaz, a Professor in Urban Studies and Planning at the Issam Fares Institute of Public Policy at the American University of Beirut
  • Kareem Ibrahim, an Egyptian architect and urban researcher who has worked extensively in Historic Cairo
  • Ali M. Malkawi, a professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and a founding director of the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities
  • Nondita Correa Mehrotra, an architect working in India and the United States and Director of the Charles Correa Foundation. For more information, please see the biographies of Master Jury members.

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