Watch: Shortlist revealed for Aga Khan Architecture Award

Muttrah fish market in Muscat has been designed for tourism and tradition
Muttrah fish market in Muscat has been designed for tourism and tradition
By Lindsey Johnstone
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The award recognises architecture that addresses the needs of Muslim communities. Nominees this year include an Indonesian microlibrary and an Omani fish market which highlights tradition while drawing tourism.


The shortlist of projects competing for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and its $1 million-prize has been revealed. The award, given every three years, recognises architecture that addresses the needs and aspirations of Muslim communities.

Nominees this year include a low-cost, eco-conscious Indonesian micro-library which aims to help combat the country's low literacy rates, and the Muttrah fish market in Muscat – the design for which was inspired by the flow of Arabic calligraphy and highlights tradition while also catering to Oman's growing tourist industry.

The 20 shortlisted projects for 2019, located in 16 different countries, were announced in Kazan, Russia, at an exhibition on the award.

One project, the AM Residence in Jakarta, Indonesia, features a design inspired by the country's traditional stilt houses which use natural ventilation and minimal walls and simple windows for a seamless relationship between exterior and interior.

In Beijing, the Courtyard House Plugin is a prefabricated modular system developed for installation within courtyard houses in the traditionally Muslim district of Dashilar, which is densely populated and home to communities who do not have the means for renovations.

The Plugin allows residents to expand and upgrade their living space with a structure that takes no more than a day to assemble and doesn't require any specialist skills.

The SOS Children's Village in Tadjourah, Djibouti, is a design based on a traditional medina – with a layout of narrow streets that maximises shade and ventilation. The complex was designed to provide a safe home for at-risk children – each unit houses six to seven children and a foster mother.

The Jarahieh School, in Al-Marj, Lebanon, provides educational facilities for children from 300 Syrian refugee families, creates a hub for community activities and offers the settlement’s only secure shelter in the event of an earthquake. The local community helped design and build it, making it a source of pride as much as education.

Many of the projects also notably incorporate design elements that deal with climate challenges, such as Ethiopia's Warka Water – a triangular frame made from local bamboo that encloses a thin polyester mesh, which collects up to 100 litres of safe drinking water a day by capturing droplets from the extremely humid Ethiopian air.

Other shortlisted designs can be found in Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey, Palestine and Iran.

Video editor • Laetitia Rodari

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