On November 6, 2016, the winners of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture were celebrated in a glittering tribute at the Al Jahili fort in Al-Ain, UAE, in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE, Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, Chairman of the Award, and various dignitaries from the United Arab Emirates and abroad. Runa Khan, founder and executive director of Friendship, received the award for Friendship Centre in Gaibandha and Architect Marina Tabassum received the award for Bait Ur Rouf Mosque in Dhaka. These two projects from Bangladesh are among the six winners from 348 nominated projects in 69 countries. The winners were first announced on October 3, 2016 at the Al Jahili fort in Al Ain, and are from Bangladesh, China, Denmark, Iran and Lebanon.
The Friendship Centre in Gaibandha, Bangladesh has been designed by the prominent Architect Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury which was completed in December 2011. It was built for Friendship, a non-governmental organisation, which works to restore the dignity and hope of marginalised communities living in the remote and unaddressed areas of northern Bangladesh and as well as in the southern coastal belts. The centre is a community training centre which makes a virtue of an area susceptible to flooding in rural Bangladesh. The Centre provides services for the marginalised community of the region. It was designed to provide an inviting and accessible space for those who use the Centre’s services. It is situated on two acres; the complex is designed to blend with the natural environment while echoing the ruins of Mahasthan, a Buddhist dwelling from the third century BC, located nearby. It is constructed and finished primarily with one material local handmade brick, and individual pavilions, courtyard, pools, and green spaces are woven throughout.
Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, Dhaka was designed by Architect Marina Tabassum. As a refuge for spirituality in urban Dhaka, the project was selected for its beautiful use of natural light.
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is one of the oldest and most prestigious awards in architecture. It was established by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1977 to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence.