Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1995.
The old city of Bukhara was founded 2,500 years ago. Within its ancient city walls and gates are 500 standing monuments: they include 24 madrasas, 48 mosques, 14 caravanserais, 9 mausoleums, 4 trading domes, the Ark citadel, and many hammams, old houses, and canals. The restoration programme began in the late 1960's under the USSR, and has been continued by Uzbekistan since its independence in 1990. The primary aim is to conserve the major monuments and landmarks in the centre of the old city, and to re-integrate them into the life of the bordering districts. Because most of the upgraded mosques, madrasas, mausoleums, and other monumental structures are no longer used as such, a new function was found for each. Some madrasas, for example, have been turned into craft centres, studios, and galleries. One has become a restoration institute where future restorers are trained. Other structures have had their old functions renewed. A caravanserai is once again a silk and cloth warehouse, and trading domes are renewed as active suqs. Among the great landmarks restored are the Samanid Mausoleum, the Mir-i Arab Madrasa, and the Kalyan Minaret. To open up the old centre, thereby allowing the monuments to be better seen, mediocre buildings of the 1950's were removed. Utilities have been upgraded, and the streets paved. Old Bukhara, no longer a derelict slum, is now a viable prosperous city. The jury believes that "the restoration of Bukhara sends a very strong message to the rest of the Islamic world of the need to restore and re-integrate old cities into new ways of life."
Al-Radi, Selma and Nassim Sharipov. 2004. The Heritage of Bukhara. In Iran: Architecture for Changing Societies. Philip Jodidio (ed). Torino: Umberto Allemandi & C.
This publication is a result of an International Seminar held in Tehran and Yazd, Iran, between 11-17 October 2002, sponsored by the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. "The Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture had been considering for some time the organisation of a meeting in Iran that would provide the opportunity of engaging in meaningful dialogue between national architects, teachers, and students in the fields of historic preservation and contemporary design, and their counterparts from other countries." (Luis Monreal, from the preface)
"The meetings in Iran marked the first time that an Award seminar has been split into two different but complementary subjects: historic preservation and contemporary architecture and planning. This dual structure closely reflects the realities that most Muslim societies face today. On one hand, there is an urgent need to protect and revitalise historic urban heritage and the contexts in which it is located; on the other, there is a massive need for new construction, including housing, industrial and corporate structures, public facilities, and planning and infrastructure initiatives." (Luis Monreal, from the preface)