The Bait Ur Rouf Mosque in Dhaka by  Marina Tabassum Architects/ MTA and the Friendship Centre in Gaibandha by Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury/URBANA  have been shortlisted for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. (Source: press release, Aga Khan Award for Architecture )

The projects, which were selected by the Master Jury from amongst 348 projects nominated for the 13th Award cycle, will be competing for US$ 1 million in prize money. They are among 19 shortlisted projects for the 2016 Award, which was announced on May 09.

Located in an increasingly dense neighborhood (Faidabad, Uttara ) of Dhaka, the Bait Ur Rouf Mosque is an attempt to create a language of architecture that takes essence from the glorious legacy of mosque architecture in Bengal during the Sultanate period, while maintaining a contemporary expression. “The quality of space and architecture in this project proves that with the use of local materials and dedicated craftsmen, and an attempt towards spirituality through light can span the distance between here and infinity, between today and eternity.”

Another project Friendship Centre is located in an agricultural area of rural Gaibandha. The area is susceptible to flooding and earthquakes. Conceived as dyke the project was constructed and finished primarily of one material – local hand-made bricks – the spaces are woven out of pavilions, courtyards, pools and greens, corridors and shadows. “As in construction, so in conception, the complex of the centre rises and exists as echo of ruins, alive with the memory of the remains of Mahasthangahr.”

Friendship Center by URBANA | ©AKTC / Eric Chenal
Friendship Center by URBANA | ©AKTC / Eric Chenal

Other shortlisted projects include project from AZERBAIJAN, CHINA, DENMARK, IRAN, JORDAN, KOSOVO, LEBANON, MOROCCO, NIGERIA, SAUDI ARABIA, SENEGAL, QATAR and SPAIN.  The shortlisted projects are now undergoing rigorous investigations by on-site reviewers –architects, conservation specialists or structural engineers themselves – who visit and evaluate each project first-hand.  Their reports are the basis for the Master Jury’s selection of the eventual winners. Details of the shortlisted project can be viewed HERE.

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) is presented every three year to architectural projects that set new standards of excellence and successfully address the needs and aspirations of Islamic societies. Since the Award was launched, 3 projects from Bangladesh Grameen Bank Housing program (1987-89), National Assembly Building (1987-89), School in Rudrapur (2005-07) have received the award.