NNA - The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) building on the American University of Beirut (AUB) Green Oval, designed by the late Dame Zaha Hadid, has been awarded a prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) for 2016.
The dramatic modernist design was one of 348 nominated projects, and among 19 shortlisted for the award, which is given out every three years for projects setting new standards of excellence in architecture, planning practices, historic preservation and landscape architecture.
Through its efforts, the AKAA seeks to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of societies across the world, in which Muslims have a significant presence.
The awards ceremony will be held in the Al-Jahili Fort in Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, in November. Dr. Tarek Mitri, Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, will be present to receive the award on behalf of AUB and the Institute.
The citation for the IFI building-one of six winners, including two from Bangladesh, and one each from China, Denmark, Iran and Lebanon-described it as a "new building, radical in composition but respectful of its traditional context".
It was inaugurated in May 2014, in the presence of Dame Zaha, who declared in her inauguration speech that "the design establishes the institute as a crossroads; a three-dimensional intersection and space for the University's students, faculty, researchers and visitors to meet, connect and engage with each other and the wider community."
"The Institute's work looks to the future and challenges us all, enriching our understanding of the Arab world by expanding research and broadening debate," she said.
The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs was found in 2006, with the goal of enhancing and broadening public policy-related debate and knowledge production in the Arab world.