A restored 19th century power station in Baku, Azerbaijan, a rural training centre inspired by an old archaeology site in Bangladesh, a boutique hotel in Kashan, Iran, an abandoned quarry-turned nature conservation facility in Jordan, a railway station in Casablanca, Morocco and a floating school in Lagos, Nigeria are some of the 19 projects shortlisted for the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Established in 1977, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture is presented once every three years and honours new standards of excellence in 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 are shortlisted by a Master Jury on the basis of their ability to successfully address the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence.

The shortlisted projects will compete for $1 million dollars in prize money.

The shortlist

Selected from a pool of 348 entries received from 69 countries, the 19 projects shortlisted for the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture include:

New Power Station, Baku, Azerbaijan by Erginoğlu & Çalışlar Architects



Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, Dhaka, Bangladesh by Marina Tabassum



Friendship Centre, Gaibandha, Bangladesh by Urbana/ Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury



Micro Yuan’er, Beijing, China by ZAO/standardarchitecture/ Zhang Ke



Superkilen, Copenhagen, Denmark by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group)



Manouchehri House, Kashan, Iran by Akbar Helli, Shahnaz Nader



Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge, Tehran, Iran by Diba Tensile Architecture/ Leila Araghian, Alireza Behzadi



40 Knots House, Tehran, Iran by Habibeh Madjdabadi, Alireza Mashhadi Mirza



Royal Academy for Nature Conservation by Um Al-Yanabea, Jordan, Khammash Architects



Bunateka Libraries, Various Locations by Kosovo, Bujar Nrecaj Architects



Issam Fares Institute, Beirut, Lebanon by Zaha Hadid Architects



Guelmim School of Technology, Guelmim, Morocco by Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani, Mohamed Amine Siana



Casa-Port New Railway Station, Casablanca, Morocco by AREP and Groupe 3 Architectes



Makoko Floating School, Lagos, Nigeria by NLÉ - Shaping the Architecture of Developing Cities/ Kunlé Adeyemi



Doha Tower, Doha, Qatar by Ateliers Jean Nouvel



King Fahad National Library, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia by Gerber Architekten International



Artist Residency and Cultural Center, Sinthian, Senegal by Toshiko Mori Architects



Nasrid Tower Restoration, Huercal-Overa, Spain by Castillo Miras Arquitectos


A restoration enhanced by modern design elements and sensitivity towards its built and natural environment. The project explores the dichotomy between the solid, ageless construction of the existing 13th century Nasrid Tower, made by anonymous craftsmen, and the provisional, light, degradable nature of the contemporary. The additions to the original building are conceived as future ruins, removable, temporary objects placed directly onto the ground without foundations and made with contrasting materials. The restoration of the Tower itself involved the preservation of original materials where possible, removing modern additions and resurfacing the original mud wall and interior brick fabric. To restore the original entry to the tower, four metres above ground level, a new pre-rusted steel staircase tower and toilet and office container were built. The space was adapted for use as an exhibition space but a range of events, including weddings, have taken place. The landscaping of the area adjacent to the tower re-uses the existing topography to minimise ground alteration. A careful, sensitive restoration project has been undertaken which has restored the presence and meaning of the historic Tower, while at the same time a modern design project produced which demonstrates great flair and a sensitivity towards its built and natural environment. The main achievement has been to transform a derelict building into a symbol of the village and its past, and it has become a powerful tourist attraction.

Ceuta Public Library, Ceuta, Spain by Paredes Pedrosa Arquitectos



Master Jury:

Suad Amiry, Founder, Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation, Ramallah

Emre Arolat, Founder, EAA-Emre Arolat Architecture, Istanbul

Akeel Bilgrami, Sydney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University, New York

Luis Fernàndez-Galiano, Editor, Architectura Viva, Madrid

Hameed Haroon, Chief Executive Officer, Herald Publications, Karachi

Lesley Lokko, Head, Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg

Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Cambridge

Dominique Perrault, Founder, Dominique Perrault Architecture, Paris

Hossein Rezai, Director, Web Structures, Singapore 

Steering Committee

A Steering Committee chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan is allowed to suggest areas of interest but will have no bearing on the final selections of the independent Master Jury.

The Steering Committee includes:

His Highness the Aga Khan (Chairman)

David Adjaye, founder and principal architect of Adjaye Associates, which has offices in London, New York and Accra

Mohammad al-Asad, the founding director of the Center for the Study of the Built Environment in Amman, Jordan

Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General for Culture at UNESCO, Paris, France

Hanif Kara, a practicing structural engineer and Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University

Kamil Merican, founding partner of GDP Architects Malaysia

Azim Nanji, currently Special Advisor to the Provost at the Aga Khan University and a Member of the Board of Directors of the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa

Professor Gülru Necipoglu, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art at Harvard University;

Brigitte Shim, a principal in the Toronto-based design firm Shim-Sutcliffe Architects and Professor at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto

Yu Kongjian, founder and dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape and the Changjiang Chair Professor of Design, at Peking University

Image: Friendship Centre, Gaibandha, Bangladesh, URBANA/ Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury. Image Courtesy of The Aga Khan Award for Architecture