« On Wednesday, November 24, in a ceremony held at the pristine Museum of Islamic Art designed by I.M. Pei in Doha, Qatar, His Highness the Aga Khan presented the 2010 Award for Architecture. Unique among awards worldwide, the Aga Khan award program follows a three-year cycle overseen by a steering committee — from nomination, through evaluation by trained professionals, to selection by a master jury. This year, for the 11th cycle of the awards program, out of 401 entries 19 projects achieved shortlisted status and warranted full evaluation by experts and five eventually emerged as winners. Subsequent seminars explored the implications of the awards. The Aga Khan established the program in 1977 to promote broader understanding of the role of architecture within Muslim cultures, but this year’s winners included a chairman’s award to the Islamic scholar Oleg Grabar, currently a professor at Princeton University, and projects outside the expected venues, with works in China and Spain.
Li Xiaodong Atelier
Xiashi, Fujian Province, China
Small in scale but with a large idea, this bridge spans a creek, connecting both halves of the village. Dramatically, the contemporary structure counterpoises between paired toulou, or traditional, circular Chinese fortresses. Functionally, the project serves a number of uses: as a village school set within a pair of steel trusses covered in bamboo siding; and as a footbridge suspended below, which allows pedestrian passage. Realized on a tiny budget of roughly $100,000, the project contains a library and doubles as a community entertainment/puppet theater space. »
(Photo credit: © Award for Architecture / Li Xiaodong Atelier_