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Architectural prize given to 9 outstanding projects-2001-11-02

Friday, 2001, November 2

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the world's largest architectural prize, worth a total of US$500,000, was given away Thursday night to nine outstanding projects in its 2001 cycle at a function held at Syrian town of Aleppo, said a message issued by the Ismaili Muslim Community in Dhaka yesterday.

The works of architecture that received the award are "New Life for Old Structures" (Various locations, Iran); "Ait Iktel" (Abadou, Morocco), "Barefoot Architects" (Tilonia, India), "Kahere Elia Poultry Farming School" (Koliagbe, Guinea), "Nubian Museum" (Aswan, Egypt), "SOS Children's Village" (Aqaba, Jordan), "Olbia Social Centre" (Antalya, Turkey), "Bagh-e-Ferdowsi" (Tehran, Iran) and "Datai Hotel" (Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia).

The Aga Khan, Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, presented the Chairman's Award of US$100,000 to Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa in recognition of his lifetime contribution to the field of architecture, for only the third time ever.

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established by the Aga Khan in 1977 to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of Islamic societies.

Addressing the presentation ceremony of the 8th Aga Khan Award for Architecture, at a distinguished international audience of hundreds gathered in the resplendent Throne Room of the centuries old Citadel of Aleppo, the Aga Khan underscored a need for freedom in the civilisation debate to understand the significance of the historical achievements of Islamic civilisations.

"If we find pride in our past, but are troubled by how it relates to the present and the future, what are our ways forward?" These challenges, said the Aga Khan, require "careful thought and discussion within the Ummah." It was a debate, he said, that must occur in a way that "provides freedom for full exchange," the press release said

President Bashar Al Assad of Syria, in a speech read on his behalf by Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa Miro, warned that "cultural and intellectual isolation is a negative phenomenon."

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