INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE: The Aga Khan Award for Architecture held its first international award seminar for its 2013 award cycle in Singapore last week
Held in Singapore on 19 and 20 July, the “Emerging Models of Planning Practices” thematic seminar organised by The Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) and supported by the Urban Redevelopment Authority Singapore, Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) saw presentations by international speakers.
Being the first international award seminar to be implemented during its current award cycle culminating in the award presentation in 2013, the seminar, besides examining models of planning practices adopted in different countries also showcased engagements across different political geographies. Approaching the workings of the “broader landscape”, the seminar sought the “multiplicity of agencies and actors that participate in the different modes of planning practices.” “Planning has evolved into new hybrid forms of practice, which are often richer versions of the earlier conventional planning instruments. In the process, several models have emerged out of particular political and geographical conditions that range from city states to cities of nation states.
“Within these contexts, the actors vary substantially, which often has a direct implication on the nature of planning instruments. In this pluralistic condition of producing cities and constructed landscapes, the traditional ‘masterplan’ has, in its format, become more inclusive in recognition of its dependency on other actors and agencies for implementation,” commented Rahul Mehrotra, Chair, Department of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard GSD in his concept paper on “Identifying Emerging Models of Planning Practices.” The 19 invited speakers were divided into groups delivering their presentations in five sessions.
Serving as moderator for the first session on “New Paradigms, Infrastructure Urbanism” was Ng Wai Keen, NUS Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, School of Design and Environment. The moderator for the second session on “Cities of Learning” was Christopher Lee, Design Critic in Architecture and Urban Design, Harvard GSD. Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean, Faculty of Design, Harvard GSD, USA and member of the 2013 AKAA Steering Committee meanwhile moderated on the topic of “Curating the City”.
These three sessions concluded the first day of the seminar.
The following day, Professor Heng Chye Kiang, Dean, School of Design and Environment, NUS moderated on the topic “Emerging Territories”.
Mehrotra who is a member of the 2013 AKAA Steering Committee moderated on the topic “Cities in Asia”. Malaysia’s Ahmad Jefri Clyde who is the director of AJC Planning Consultants Sdn Bhd and Garis Architects Sdn Bhd presented three examples of the masterplan design during the colonial, post-colonial and the current era. He also analysed the changes shaping the masterplan of the country‘s two government administrative centres in Shah Alam and in Putrajaya under the “Emerging Territories” session.
Malaysian-born, London-based Christopher Lee, co-founder and principal of Serie Architects meanwhile elaborated on the topic of “Curating the City” in the context of relating architecture to the site and aspirations of the people.
The two-day seminar was preceded by the launch of the “Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum: Architecture in Islamic Arts” on 18 July at the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore.
Guests of honour included Prince Amyn Aga Khan, Chairman of the Aga Khan Museum and Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Singapore Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts.
Organised by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the Asian Civilisations Museum, the Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum exhibition that runs from 19 July to 28 October “explores concepts of architecture and decoration in Islamic cultures through outstanding paintings, metalwork, ceramics, and architectural elements” from the Aga Khan Museum that is scheduled to open in Toronto next year.