Introduction to the course

This course explores how the work of architects and planners contributes to enhancing the quality of life for city residents in different urban settings across the world today. Fifteen exemplary architectural projects, each of which has received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, have been chosen to illustrate this study area. Although the projects themselves were primarily designed for, or in relation to, Muslim communities, the principles underlying them and the lessons they offer are applicable everywhere.

The course has been prepared on behalf of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and is delivered by Mohammad al-Asad, Director of the Center for the Study of Built Environment (CSBE) in Amman, Jordan and Lara Zureikat, the Associate Director of the Center.

Each week of the course will cover a distinct category of building or planning projects. The first will be public buildings that function as urban landmarks. The second will be urban infrastructure. The third week will deal with projects that connect the city to the surrounding natural context. During the fourth week, we will examine projects involving the creation of open public spaces in the city. The fifth week will unpack efforts to improve the quality of housing for the urban poor. The sixth will be devoted to projects that focus on the protection and revitalization of the city’s built heritage. The seventh and final category will be the role of architecture and urbanism in helping address the particular needs of post-conflict cities.

As you go through the course, please bear in mind that although each project is most closely related to one of the above categories, several of the projects may be germane to several. Also, since the projects were premiated by the Aga Khan Award for Architecture at different times over the last four decades, the information about them goes back to the date on which they were recognized by the Award. Regardless of their present condition, however, the intent of these projects remains as relevant today to the concerns of urban life as they were when they were conceived.

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Enhancing the Quality of Urban Life: Fifteen Winning Projects of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture

Aga Khan Trust for Culture