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Meimand Nominated for Aga Khan Architecture Award

9/1/06 By Soudabeh Sadigh

Agha Khan Foundation which presents one of the most outstanding awards in architecture has accepted the file of Meimand village to participate in this year's compeiotion.

Tehran, 31 August 2006 (CHN) -- Meimand's project with the subject of "introducing restoration methods and design of the historical texture of Meimand" has been accepted by Aga Khan Foundation to take part in its architecture competition. This way, the village of Meimand in Kerman province is among the nominees of one of the biggest architectural competitions of the world.

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is the largest architectural award in the world with a triennial prize of 500,000 US dollars which is presented every three years to projects selected by an independent Master Jury. Based in Geneva, the Aga Khan Foundation which was established in 1977 by His Highness Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Ismaili branch of Shi'a Islam, recognizes examples of architectural excellence that encompass contemporary design, social housing, community improvement and development, restoration, re-use, and area conservation, as well as landscaping and environmental issues. The Award has completed nine cycles of activities since its inception in 1977, and documentation has been compiled on over 7500 building projects located throughout the world. Until today, ninety two projects have received the Awards.

Since the Award's inception, twenty one seminars have been held in various parts of the world, two of which have been held in Iran in the cities of Yazd and Tehran. International seminars examine the trends and implications of architectural transformations in the Islamic world, while regional seminars explore architecture in Islamic cultures in a specific area.

"Meimand historical village will participate in this award to introduce restoration methods and designs of the historical texture of the village. This subject has been recognized eligible by Aga Khan Foundation and registered in the list of participant projects. In the file which has been submitted to the Foundation, the details about traditional architecture and traditional materials used in architectural style of the foundation have been specified. By accepting the project, the Foundation will dispatch a representative to the area to examine the case and to study the trend of people's interaction with this traditional architectural style and their lifestyle," said Mehrdad Mehran, manager of Meimand project to CHN.

Meimand village is a rocky village in the central province of Kerman formed thousands of years ago in the heart of the mountains. Residents of the area still live in rocky houses with no windows or chimneys. They talk to their local language of Kiche which includes Pahlavi-Sassanid words. Currently, 132 people live in this village and they have maintained their traditional customs.

The Award forms an integral component of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, whose two other major areas of activity are the Historic Cities Support Programme and the Education and Culture Programme.

Through its efforts, the Award seeks to identity and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of societies in which Muslims have a significant presence.

The Award aims to encourage architecture that reflects the pluralism that always characterizes Muslim communities. Eligible projects encompass recent architectural efforts in all Muslim countries as well as those in areas where Muslims do not comprise a majority, including Europe, North America, Australia, the Pacific region, and elsewhere. To be eligible for the Award, all projects should demonstrate service to Muslims, although eligible projects do not have to serve exclusively Muslim communities.

Meimand is the first Iranian village which will take part in the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Last year, Meimand village succeeded in winning Melina the Mercouri Award.

Melina Mercouri International Prize (UNESCO-Greece) bears the name of Melina Mercouri, a precursor of integrated conservation and sustainable development. The purpose of the prize is to reward outstanding examples of action to safeguard and enhance the world's major cultural landscapes.

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