Modern Moroccan architecture is reinterpreting vernacular traditions. Taking its name from the Arabic al-maġhrib, or the “place the sun sets; the west”, the kingdom is a sovereign state home to numerous examples of Islamic design, as well as detailed art and ornamentation found within geometric patterns, friezes and open courtyards.
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The Aga Khan Award for Architecture has announced a shortlist of 19 projects selected from 348 entries received from 69 countries. Presented once every three years, the award honors 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. The basis for the Aga Khan Award is “to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence.” Selected by a Master Jury, the shortlisted projects will compete for $1 million dollars in prize money. Since its establishment in 1977, over 110 projects have received the award and more than 9,000 building projects have been documented.
Morocco was heavily influenced by European modernism due to its strategic position in Northern Africa. It was governed as a European protectorate for much of the 20th century, and it was in this region that the modern movement found a place for experimentation; a place where modernist ideals met such particular climate conditions that they evolved a unique regional expression.
The Morocco Pavilion for the 2014 Venice Biennale—their first presence at the event—acknowledges this particular expression aligned with the theme of Absorbing Modernity under the title of Fundamental(ism)s. Curator Tarik Oualalou erected it over a ground of desert sand to create a setting for Morocco’s architecture in the past, entitled Living in the City, and the future, Inhabiting the Desert.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced an all-star shortlist of twelve renowned architects - including 2013 Pritzker Prize laureate Toyo Ito and international powerhouse OMA - competing to design their new headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. Located on 24,000 square meter site on the banks of Lake Geneva, the 18,000 square meter headquarters will provide an “Olympic campus” of administrative buildings and service for 450 employees.
Come December, the IOC will award one of the following architects £21,000 to develop their designs:
From innovative mud and bamboo schools to state of the art “green” high-rises, the Master Jury for the 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture has selected 20 deserving nominees to be in the running for the prestigious, US$1 million prize. Since the award was launched 36 years ago, over 100 projects have received the prize and more than 7,500 building projects have been documented for exhibiting architectural excellence and improving the overall quality of life in their regions.
Farrokh Derakhshani, the Director of the Award, remarked: “The Master Jury, which includes some of the most prominent architects of our time, made interesting choices this year. For example, they chose schools in Afghanistan and Syria, but they also chose a hospital in Sudan, a high rise in Bangkok and the reconstruction of a refugee camp in Lebanon. In many ways, the choices reflect a central preoccupation of the Award: the impact of buildings and public spaces on the quality of life. Now this seems fairly mainstream, but we must remember that the Aga Khan Award has been talking about 'human scale' and 'sustainability' since 1977”.
The 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture Shortlist includes: