The Architectural League of New York has announced the recipient of its 2017 President’s Medal: His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam (Spiritual Leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Aga Khan Award in Architecture – an annual award established to celebrate building concepts that have successfully addressed the needs of Muslim communities from around the world.
The Architectural League’s highest honor, the President’s Medal is awarded annually to recognise individuals for an extraordinary body of work in architecture, urbanism, art, or design. The medal will be presented by League President Billie Tsien at a May 18, 2017 dinner in New York.
The Architectural League explained the values championed by the Aga Khan in his work promoting issues of sustainability, quality of life, local craft and building traditions:
A commitment to pluralism suffuses the work of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, along with other programs of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and Aga Khan Development Network, of which it is a part. ‘Pluralism,’ the Aga Khan has said, “results when people decide to value and understand human differences through mutual respect and civic inclusion.” He has written that “In the troubled times in which we live, it is important to remember, and honour, a vision of a pluralistic society. Tolerance, openness and understanding towards other peoples’ cultures, social structures, values and faiths are now essential to the very survival of an interdependent world. Pluralism is no longer simply an asset or a prerequisite for progress and development, it is vital to our existence.”