Aga Khan Award for Architecture Exhibition celebrates innovation and diversity

Image of attendees at the opening of the exhibition

An exhibition of projects honoured by one of the world’s most prestigious architecture awards has opened in Auckland. The George Fraser Gallery is exhibiting projects from the most recent round of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Projects on display include an urban park in Denmark, a floating school in Nigeria, a library integrating an archaeological site in Spain, a dual-level curved pedestrian bridge in Iran and a rural training centre inspired by ruins from the 3rd Century BC in Bangladesh.  The 19 projects show excellence in innovative structures and landscapes that successfully address the needs and aspirations of contemporary societies.

Associate Professor Julia Gatley, Head of the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland, opened the exhibition by recalling her days as a student in the 1980s, where it was common for schools of architecture to have programmes that predominantly focused on western architecture, particularly courses covering the history of architecture.

“This would be unimaginable and unacceptable in today’s multicultural and diverse society,” she said. “So it’s a real pleasure to be hosting this exhibition as part of our own move towards increased diversity in the programmes we teach at the school.”

Auckland’s Deputy Mayor Hon Bill Cashmore was also at the opening and noted that the 223 languages now spoken here underlined the inspiration to be drawn from the Award.

“The world is interconnected, full of humanity and beauty, like we see on the walls tonight,” he said.

Dr Hossein Rezai, a member of the independent Master Jury for the Award, cited its value for meaningful and intelligent design, social equity and community engagement. 

“There are challenges we are all facing, problems we have created within our species, between us and the natural environment that we need to fix. This contest encourages solutions,” he said.

The exhibition opening was also attended by Hon Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi MP, Young Engineer of the Year 2018 Jenny Chu, President of the Ismaili Council for Australia and New Zealand Karim Sumar, representatives from the Office of Ethnic Communities and architects, designers, faculty, students and civic leaders.

The exhibition is hosted by University of Auckland with support from GIB and coincides with the 2018 New Zealand Festival of Architecture. It runs until Sunday 30 September 2018, from 11am to 4pm (closed Mondays, Tuesdays) at the George Fraser Gallery in Auckland.