Every three years, the Aga Khan Architecture Award acknowledges projects relevant to Islam that are culturally, environmentally and socially superior. Accompanied by a generous $1 million prize, it is among the world’s most prestigious architecture awards.
Apartment #1 by Tehran’s Architecture by Collective Terrain is one of 20 projects nominated, and though it faces stiff competition from projects like the Thula Fort Preservation project in Yemen, the recycled stone complex is an excellent example of the work that the Aga Khan Development Network likes to support.
Located in Mahallat, the five storey complex was built with stone slated to languish in a landfill. A majority of the economic activity in Mahallat centers around cutting and processing stone.
But since the technology used for doing so is somewhat outdated, the business involves a great deal of waste – up to 50 percent of all stone, historically, has been tossed.
AbCT has turned this material catastrophe into an opportunity not only to make money, but also to reduce the stone industry’s environmental impact.
All of the exterior walls and some of the interior walls are built with recycled stone. Small cutouts in the facade are shaded with triangular ledges and the bigger windows are fitted with timber shutters that allow occupants to control natural light and ventilation.
A mixed use development with ground floor retail space and eight three bedroom apartments, Apartment #1 has inspired other stone workers in the area to look at this precious natural material with new eyes.
Completed in 2010, the apartment complex has a modest footprint of 420 square meters.
China’s Bridge School Xiashi designed by Li Xiaodong Atelier won the 2010 Aga Khan Architecture Award. The 2013 awards will be handed out this September in Lisbon, Portugal.
All images courtesy of Aga Khan Development Network