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Two entries from Middle East win coveted architecture award

Among the six winners were a Lebanese guest house in Libya and a contemporary art museum in Tehran

Two entries from Middle East win coveted architecture award
[Source photo: Venkat Reddy/Fast Company Middle East]

The winners of the coveted 2022 Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) have been revealed. The six winners picked for the awards will be sharing the $1 million pot prize, one of the largest in the world of architecture. 

Among the winners is Lebanon’s Niemeyer Guest House in Tripoli. Located on the outskirts of Tripoli, the rehabilitation of the guest house is part of the Rachid Karami International Fair (RKIF), the unfinished masterpiece of the architect Oscar Niemeyer.

A stellar example of Modernist architecture in the Middle East, this 10-hectare fair site, renovated by East Architecture Studio, may look windowless on the outside but is illuminated by a central atrium and two courtyards on the inside.

It’s “an inspiring tale of architecture’s capacity for repair, at a time of dizzying, entangled crisis around the world, and in Lebanon in particular”, the master jury report stated.

Iran’s Argo Contemporary Art Museum and Cultural Center has also received recognition for its “untypical” reuse factor, which transformed a former brewery into a flour-storeyed private museum for contemporary art, with spaces for exhibitions, talks and film screenings.

“Argo is an urban place that goes far beyond the initial function of a contemporary art center. It is an appropriable complex for collective life that is much more inclusive than the classic contemporary museum and brings a new public to art,” the jury said.

Jury members included architects Nada Al Hassan and Lina Ghotmeh, artist Kader Attia and professor Amale Andraos who looked for “quality, not only of the architectural space, but the quality of life and social relationships facilitated by architecture.”

An award ceremony will soon be held in Muscat, Oman, along with the Aga Khan Music Awards.

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established in 1977 to reward building projects and designs that address the needs of communities with significant Muslim populations. 

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