By Merlin Fulcher for The Architect's Journal
Zaha Hadid Architects has won an Aga Khan Award for Architecture for its Issam Fares Institute in Beirut.
The award recognises the practice’s building on the campus of the American University of Beirut. The ‘radical but respectful’ 3,000m² building, for the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, was won in an international competition 10 years ago, and completed in 2014.
The scheme was selected for a prize along with five other projects from a 19-strong shortlist. The latest awards cover buildings completed between 2014 and 2016.
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was created by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1977 to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully addressed the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence. Prizes have been given to projects across the world, fromthe Aga Khan in 1977 to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully addressed the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence.
A statement from the Aga Khan Development Network said: ‘The building is defined by the routes and connections within the university; the building emerges from the geometries of intersecting routes as a series of interlocking platforms and spaces for research and discourse.
‘The massing and volume distribution fits very well with the topography, and the nearby Ficus and Cyprus trees are perfectly integrated with the project.’
It added that the building’s construction was a continuation of the 20th-century Lebanese construction culture of working with fair-faced concrete.
The footprint of the building was reduced by ‘floating’ a reading room, workshop conference room and research facilities above the entrance courtyard using a 21m-long cantilever.
The winners of the latest awards were announced at a ceremony held at the Al Jahili fort in Abu Dhabi. The awards were overseen by a steering committee chaired by the Aga Khan and featuring David Adjaye and AKTII co-founder Hanif Kara.
The full list of winners:
- LEBANON: Issam Fares Institute, Beirut (Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects)
- BANGLADESH: Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, Dhaka (Architect: Marina Tabassum)
and Friendship Centre, Gaibandha (Architects: Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury/URBANA)
- CHINA: Cha’er Hutong Children’s Library and Art Centre, Beijing (Architects: ZAO/standardarchitecture / Zhang Ke)
- DENMARK: Superkilen, Copenhagen (Architects: BIG- Bjarke Ingels Group, Topotek 1 and Superflex)
- IRAN: Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge, Tehran (Architects: Diba Tensile Architecture / Leila Araghian, Alireza Behzadi)