Architectural Excellence in Islamic Societies: Distinction Through the Aga Khan Award for Architecture

Ashraf M. Salama, Marwa M. El-Ashmouni

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book discusses architectural excellence in Islamic societies drawing on textual and visual materials, from the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT, developed over more than three decades. At the core of the discussion are the efforts, processes, and outcomes of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA).

The AKAA recognises excellence in architectural and urban interventions within cities and settlements in the Islamic world which are continuously challenged by dramatic changes in economies, societies, political systems, decision-making, and environmental requirements. Architectural Excellence in Islamic Societies responds to the recurring question about the need for architectural awards, arguing that they are critical to validating the achievements of professional architects while making their contributions more widely acknowledged by the public. Through analysis and critique of over sixty awarded and shortlisted projects from over thirty-five countries, this book provides an expansive look at the history of the AKAA through a series of narratives on the enduring values of architecture, architectural and urban conservation, built environment sustainability, and architectural pluralism and multiple modernities.

Architectural Excellence in Islamic Societies will appeal to professionals and academics, researchers, and upper-level students in architectural history and theory and built environment related fields.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages240
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2020

Publication series

NameRoutledge Series of Architecture and Urbanism in the Global South


  • architecture
  • urbanism
  • Islamic societies
  • Global South
  • Aga Khan Award for Architecture
  • architectural awards


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  • Cultivating a space for decolonizing architectural knowledge

    Salama, A. M. & El-Ashmouni, M. M., 18 Feb 2022, In: DArjournal: International Journal of Architecture in the Islamic World. 1, 1, p. 26-49 24 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access

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