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Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut shortlisted for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established by 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. The Award recognises examples of architectural excellence in the fields of contemporary design, social housing, community improvement and development, historic preservation, reuse and area conservation, as well as landscape design and improvement of the environment.

The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) was established as a neutral, dynamic, civil and open space where people representing all viewpoints in society can gather and discuss significant issues, anchored in a long-standing commitment to mutual understanding and high-quality research.  The IFI building’s design is defined by the many routes and connections within AUB, interweaving the pathways and views within the campus to create a forum for the exchange of ideas – a centre of interaction and dialogue – at the heart of the university.

Significantly reducing the building’s footprint by ‘floating’ key research spaces above the entrance courtyard to preserve the existing landscape integral to the 2002 master-plan, the design creates a new public space for the campus and establishes new links from the university’s Central Oval to the Middle Campus and Mediterranean Sea. Existing Ficus and Cypress trees on the IFI site (aged between 120 and 180 years old) are integral to the design. The building emerges from the geometries of intersecting routes as a series of interlocking platforms and spaces for research, engagement and discourse.

Aga Khan Award for Architecture


press kit:

 (Photo above by Luke Hayes)


This shortlisting follows 2016 accolades for other projects by Zaha Hadid Architects.

The Investcorp Building, Oxford University’s Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College (UK) received a RIBA South Award 2016

The Messner Mountain Museum Corones in Italy won the AIA UK 2016 Design Excellence Award