"Recognition for bridging the gap of understandingbetween Western and Islamic Cultures"
Washington, DC, 26 January 2005 - His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (hereditary spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, received the National Building Museum’s Vincent Scully Prize yesterday, in recognition of his contributions to promoting design excellence, urban and rural revitalization, and historic preservation in countries where Muslims have a significant presence. His efforts, the National Building Museum noted, have “helped bridge the gap of understanding between Western and Islamic cultures.” The National Building Museum, created by an act of Congress in 1980, is America’s premier cultural institution dedicated to exploring and celebrating architecture and the built environment.
Explaining the rationale behind the creation of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Aga Khan expressed “thirty years ago, I began to question why architecture in the Islamic world had lost touch with the great achievements of its past.” In recent decades, he went on, new projects in urban Muslim societies were increasingly pedestrian, often carbon copies of the so-called modernism that one would see in any western city. “There was little relevance to the distinctive needs of Muslim communities today or a vision for the future. And hardly anyone was looking at the needs of poor and rural communities” he added................Read more!