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Aga Khan Awarded The 2017 Architectural League President's Medal 2017-05-18

Hazar Imam receives The Architectural League of New York award  2017-05-19
Monday, 2017, May 15

The Architectural League of New York has announced the recipient of its 2017 President’s Medal: His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam (Spiritual Leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Aga Khan Award in Architecture – an annual award established to celebrate building concepts that have successfully addressed the needs of Muslim communities from around the world.

The Architectural League’s highest honor, the President’s Medal is awarded annually to recognize individuals for an extraordinary body of work in architecture, urbanism, art, or design. The medal will be presented by League President Billie Tsien at a May 18 dinner in New York.

In a press release, The Architectural League explained the values championed by the Aga Khan in his work promoting issues of sustainability, quality of life, local craft and building traditions:

A commitment to pluralism suffuses the work of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, along with other programs of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and Aga Khan Development Network, of which it is a part. “Pluralism,” the Aga Khan has said, “results when people decide to value and understand human differences through mutual respect and civic inclusion.” He has written that “In the troubled times in which we live, it is important to remember, and honor, a vision of a pluralistic society. Tolerance, openness and understanding towards other peoples’ cultures, social structures, values and faiths are now essential to the very survival of an interdependent world. Pluralism is no longer simply an asset or a prerequisite for progress and development, it is vital to our existence.”

His Highness the Aga Khan established the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1977 to identify architectural projects that successfully address the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence. Winners of the most recent 13th triennial Award Cycle were announced in 2016 and include a community center in rural Bangladesh that interprets local building traditions and materials to respond to an environmentally sensitive site; a public space in Copenhagen promoting integration across lines of ethnicity, religion, and culture; and a bridge in Tehran that connects two parks separated by a highway and has itself become a much treasured urban space.

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture evaluates works of architecture, landscape design, and urbanism using a comprehensive set of criteria that recognizes design’s potential to foster a sense of belonging within culturally pluralistic communities worldwide while simultaneously elevating quality of life and addressing issues of environmental sustainability. The award’s comprehensive and considered deliberation process makes it one of the most respected and coveted awards in architecture.

At the ceremony on May 18th, humanities scholar Homi K. Bhabha, city planner Amanda M. Burden, architects Diébédo Francis Kéré and Billie Tsien, and League executive director Rosalie Genevro will remark on the achievements of the Aga Khan, while presenting him with the award.

Past recipients of The Architectural League’s President’s Medal have included Michael Bloomberg, Henry N. Cobb, Richard Serra, Renzo Piano, Amanda Burden, Massimo and Lella Vignelli, Hugh Hardy, Richard Meier, Ada Louise Huxtable, Robert A.M. Stern, Kenneth Frampton, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, and Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown.

News via The Architectural League.

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Remarks by His Highness the Aga Khan upon receiving The Architectural League of New York’s 2017 President’s Medal

Hazar Imam with Prince Aly Muhammad and Prince Hussain at the President's Medal ceremony New York  2017-05-19

Remarks by His Highness the Aga Khan upon receiving The Architectural League of New York’s 2017 President’s Medal

May 19, 2017

New York, NY, USA

I couldn’t accept this wonderful recognition without expressing to you all the deepness of my gratitude and my thanks.
In thinking about the way societies live in the developing world, in the industrialized world, I came to a very simple conclusion: what is the art form that has the most important impact on every society in every part of the world? And the answer is quite simply - architecture

His Highness the Aga Khan awarded the 2017 President's Medal for architecture

The President of the Architectural League, Billie Tsien, presents Mawlana Hazar Imam with the President’s Medal. Farhez Rayani

The Architectural League of New York awarded its highest honor to His Highness the Aga Khan during a dinner at the Metropolitan Club.

The President's Medal of the Architectural League is awarded annually to individuals for their exemplary work in architecture, urbanism, art and design.

The 2017 President's Medal honors the 40th anniversary of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture - given every three years to inspirational designs that address the needs of Muslim communities worldwide.

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