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Aga Khan Award for Architecture
Aga Khan Emphasises Need to Sustain Cultural Pluralism; Islamic SocietiesContribute Solutions to Global Challenges

    GRANADA, Spain, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Civil strife, expanding
populations, poverty, urban drift, hegemonic claims of traditional orthodoxies
and monopolistic tendencies in electronic media can be destructive of world
culture and are dangers to tomorrow's human and physical environment, but they
need not overwhelm every society.

    In the gardens of the Alhambra, one of the most well-known Islamic
monuments in the West, His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of
the Shia Ismaili Muslims, explained how "skill, knowledge and vision in the
realm of architecture were once a hallmark of Islamic civilisations, and
central to the identity of their peoples."  Loss of this inheritance of
pluralism, "-- the identity it conveys to members of diverse societies, and
the originality it represents and stimulates in all of them will," the Aga
Khan warned, "impoverish our societies now and into the future."  The
reawakening of this inheritance and the nurturing of its continuing evolution
can show how cultural pluralism can enable the Islamic world to provide
innovative solutions to a wide range of contemporary problems.

    Addressing culture ministers, diplomats, architects, planners and civic
dignitaries in the Generalife gardens in the presence of King Juan Carlos and
Queen Sophia of Spain, the Aga Khan spoke during the ceremony held Friday,
October 9 to announce the winners of the Seventh Cycle of the Aga Khan Award
for Architecture.

    "The awards presented today," said King Juan Carlos, "are a recognition of
the meritorious work of all those who have participated in the selected
projects.  They also involve a commitment to pass on to new generations of
architects the experience gained through their elaboration."

    An international Master Jury selected seven projects for the 1998 Award.
Each, it felt, conveyed a universal message and had particular regional

    Rehabilitation of Hebron Old Town
    Slum Networking of Indore City, India
    Salinger Residence, Selangor Malaysia
    Lepers Hospital, Chopda Taluka, India
    Tuwaiq Palace, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
    Alhamra Arts Council, Lahore, Pakistan
    Vidhan Bhavan, Bhopal, India

    Ethnic and religious conflict, the growth of slums, the devaluation of
distinctive traditions, social exclusion, and the dehumanisation of the built
environment were among the universal challenges to which answers have emerged
from societies in which Muslims live.

    In Hebron, communities dealt with sensitivities such as land tenure,
cultural identity, and issues of historical consciousness.  The Indore project
evidences innovative low-cost engineering and enlightened land ordinances.
Described as "the daring confrontation between tradition, landscape, and high
technology," Tuwaiq Palace is a recreation centre for the Diplomatic Quarter
in Riyadh.  Lepers Hospital is a sensitively designed response to the needs of
outcasts of society.  Alhamra Arts Council (a cultural complex) incorporates
innovative use of indigenous materials and traditional forms.  Local art and
architectural traditions are integrated in a very "humanised" modern building
in the Madhya Pradesh State Assembly, Vidhan Bhavan.

    The Award, with a prize fund totalling US$500,000, recognises examples of
architectural excellence in areas such as contemporary design, social housing,
restoration, environmental and landscape design and community improvement in
societies around the world in which Muslims have a significant presence.

    The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is an endeavour of the Aga Khan Trust
for Culture which co-ordinates the cultural activities of the Aga Khan
Development Network.  The Aga Khan Development Network is a group of
non-denominational private development agencies and institutions with specific
mandates that range from health and education to rural development, culture,
the built environment and the promotion of private sector enterprise.  The
agencies, working together, seek to empower communities and individuals, often
in disadvantaged circumstances, to improve living conditions and
opportunities.  The Network's underlying impulse is the ethic of compassion
for the vulnerable in society and its agencies and institutions work for the
common good of all citizens, regardless of their origin, gender or religion.

    The Aga Khan, who is accompanied by the Begum Aga Khan, will depart from
Granada on Sunday.

SOURCE Aiglemont Information Department 

  Article in New York Times
  Aga Khan Award for Architecture Website 1998
  Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture Website
  Aga Khan Architecture Award 1998 Ceremony BBC News

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