Farrokh Derakhshani, Director of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture
in conversation with Farshid Moussavi and Hanif Kara on contemporary architecture in the Muslim World.
Introduced by Leif Stenberg, Director, Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations.
Opening remarks by Luis Monreal, Managing Director, Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
The first in a series of ten public events interrogating how architecture, planning and contemporary creativity enhance and affect both quality of life and sustainability in a range of Muslim contexts, co-produced by Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and held in the iconic Aga Khan Centre
Contemporary architecture of Muslim societies is plural in nature as it emerges from diverse geographies, each unique socially, economically and environmentally. In the first session of the talks, the panellists will set the scene for the series to discuss different scales of architecture from buildings to public space to cities, and how together they define the identity of the built environment for Muslim societies.
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Farrokh Derakhshani is the Director of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and has been associated with the Award since 1982. His main field of specialisation is the contemporary architecture of Muslim societies. He lectures widely, and has organised and participated in numerous international seminars, exhibitions, colloquia, workshops, and international competitions. He has served as Jury member at various international competitions and schools of architecture and collaborated on a large variety of publications on architecture. Mr. Derakhshani trained as an architect and planner at National University of Iran and later continued his studies at the School of Architecture in Paris (UP1).
Professor Hanif Kara is a design director, educator and co-founder of London-based structural engineering firm AKT II. Under his leadership, the practice has gained an international standing in the field of the built environment, and has won over 350 design awards.
He has been responsible for a number of innovative and pioneering projects but also for raising the profile of ‘design’ both in the construction industry and the wider community. His particular ‘design-led’ approach and interest in innovative forms, historical structures and material uses, prefabrication, sustainable construction and complex analysis methods, have allowed him to work on unique, award-winning projects with leading designers.
Hanif's contribution to the industry has been recognised by professional bodies where he is a fellow member of: the Royal Academy of Engineering, Institute of Civil Engineers, Institute of Structural Engineers, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
His approach extends beyond the technical aspects of structural engineering discipline and led to his appointment as a commissioner for influential government watchdog CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) in 2008, the first structural engineer to be appointed to this position. In the global context, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture is recognised as one of the most important awards in the industry; Hanif was the first structural engineer to be selected for the Master Jury for the 2004 cycle awards, on which he has served numerous times and is currently a member of the 2019 Steering Committee of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
Hanif's work is also intertwined with the research and education of design. Following a period of co-tutoring a Diploma Unit at the Architectural Association, he has been Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology at the Harvard Graduate School of Design since 2008.
Luis Monreal is the General Manager of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Geneva (Switzerland). He is a conservation specialist, art historian and archeologist. He has held positions in many institutions. He has been the Curator Barcelona Museums (1965-1974) and Secretary General of the International Council of Museums ICOM (1974-1985).
Farshid Moussavi OBE RA is an internationally acclaimed architect and Professor in Practice of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Farshid Moussavi serves on design and architecture advisory groups internationally. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Whitechapel Gallery as well as The Architecture Foundation in London. Previously she has been a member of the advisory group to the British Council, the Mayor of London’s ‘Design for London’ initiative, the International Design Committee for the London Development Agency and the RIBA for its Gold and Presidential medals, as well as the Stirling Prize for Architecture. She has also been an external examiner for the Royal College of Art in London and at the Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design in London. In 2004, she was Chair of the Aga Khan Award Master Jury and has been a member of the Award's Steering Committee since 2005. Since September 2011, Moussavi has been writing as a columnist for the Architectural Review magazine and, most recently in 2015, she was elected to be a Royal Academician by the Royal Academy of Arts in London. In 2018 she was awarded an OBE as part of the Queen's Birthday Honours.
Professor Leif Stenberg received his PhD in Islamic Studies from the Lund University, Sweden in 1996 with the publication of his award-winning thesis entitled 'The Islamization of Science: Four Muslim Positions Developing an Islamic Modernity". He was an Assistant Professor at Uppsala University, Sweden for a year and a visiting scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University from 1997 to 1999. From 1999 to 2000, he was a visiting scholar at the Institut Français d'Études Arabes de Damas (IFEAD) in Damascus, Syria. From 2001, he was teaching Islamology at Lund University. In 2007, he was appointed as the director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) at Lund University. Since 2010, Dr Stenberg has been the President of the Nordic Society of Middle Eastern Studies, a member of the World Congress of Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES) Council since 2014 and Vice-President of the European Association for Middle Eastern Studies (EURAMES) since 2013. He also serves on the Expert Committee of Humanities and Social Sciences, Research Council of Norway.