Excerpt from: “Living in Dignity” - 2019 Master Jury Report
More than ever, the conventional practice of architecture faces a crisis of relevance. Recognition in the profession remains globally centered, based on a handful of lavish commissions that produce aesthetically pleasing objects. Yet these projects sit uncomfortably amidst the conditions in which the majority of the planet’s population lives today.
These conditions include the violence that results form climate change, rising economic and digital inequities, epidemics, greater restriction on liberties, growing polarisation, raging wars, large waves of population displacements and – amidst all of this – the daunting task of living in dignity.
For architecture to maintain its relevance in light of today’s challenges, it is imperative that the profession repositions itself in relation to these human, societal and environmental hurdles. Reflecting that need for repositioning, the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture Master Jury sought to select projects that question the conventional practice in the profession and, more importantly, set in place inspirational and ingenious pathways through which architects can take on societal problems and engage with them more seriously.
The dominant themes that emerged, and which define the winners of the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture Cycle, are threefold:  living heritage,  ecological resiliency and recovery and  thriving and inclusive commons.
These themes are integrated across six projects that span three continents. They include an urban heritage intervention, a national museum, a floating school, a university’s classrooms and halls, an ecological centre, and an ambitious programme to introduce public spaces across hundreds of localities.
The six recipients of the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture are:
REVITALISATION OF MUHARRAQ, Bahrain
PALESTINIAN MUSEUM, Birzeit, Palestine
ARCADIA EDUCATION PROJECT, South Kanarchor, Bangladesh
ALIOUNE DIOP UNIVERSITY TEACHING AND RESEARCH UNIT, Bambey, Senegal
WASIT WETLAND CENTRE, Sarjah, United Arab Emirates
PUBLIC SPACE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME, Republic of Tartarstan, Russian Federation