Keeping with the tradition of pioneering pedagogical initiatives, ADA announced excellence awards in the fields of Architecture, Design & Art to endorse Pakistan’s creative talent on a global level. Maria Aslam presented details of the awards at an impressive ceremony held on August 18, 2018 at Claremont House, Karachi. Guest speakers included the eminent Hameed Haroon and senior architects Gulzar Haider, Arif Hasan and Shahid Abdullah, all of whom highlighted key areas of the awards from different perspectives. Chairs for all three categories – Shahid Sayeed Khan for architecture, Saima Zaidi for design and Sameera Raja for art engaged the audience in an interactive conversation. The launch was well-attended by members from the professional, social and media fraternities of Pakistan.
The events opened with a qirat and the national anthem, followed by conversations with the guest speakers, Maria Aslam, and the Awards Chairs. A symbolic, eloquent presentation showing ADA’s journey mesmerized the guests. The evening concluded with planting a gulmoher tree as a pledge to protect, sustain and conserve the natural environment in a concrete world.
“ADA Awards is the first of its kind in Pakistan”, says Maria. “It is the next step in our journey for recognizing and showcasing excellence in architecture, design and art. ADA extends its portfolio towards the inclusive recognition of great works in all disciplines and the creative minds behind it. The awards aim to place Pakistan in the global arena with works aligned towards international recognition, and in parallel, to recognize celebrities from creative fields who make an impact on lives, inspire generations and leave a legacy of exceptional works.”
Talking about the need for encouraging and promoting good local architecture, Shahid Abdullah said “Architecture, good or bad, is powerful and cannot be ignored. It is easy to hide or do away with bad art, but bad architecture just cannot be ignored. It stands there, in your face.”
Arif Hasan spoke about his experience and practices at the Aga Khan Award and what the ADA Awards could draw from them and such other platforms. “(It is important that) the awards should not only be about architecture with a big ‘A’. They should also look into the built environment of Muslim societies all over the world. Though many iconic buildings like Le Musee du Monde Arabe in Paris and some very beautiful architecture for the corporate sector have been given excellence awards, these awards should be able to pull in projects that have something to do with the issues of a rapidly changing world in which Muslim societies live, work and have similar problems. Maria’s awards can also initiate discussions on many subjects and still retain the integrity of the award as it has been proposed. We will document them like they need to be documented. As a result, there will be a lot of teaching and learning material available for both teachers and students.” An encouraging and delighted Hameed Haroon expressed his views. “I am very happy to be here and be part of the launch. It is important to give recognition in any profession, especially in architecture. It’s an important step because it leads to an equation of profession with excellence…where you look for excellence and strive towards it and there are merit-based awards for architecture and its ancillary arts (I call them ancillary arts because the magazine is primarily an architecture magazine and all arts are part of it even though they are major arts in their own right) So to give awards to such professions creates a multi discipline which will lead to the creation of architecture of great magnitude, and hopefully we’ll get to see a change of cause in Pakistani architecture”.
Eminent scholar and Dean of BNU of Lahore emphasized on the role of ADA as a publication within the profession and the student body. He shared his experience of various other Awards in the Middle East sector and their regional understanding with architecture and the arts. “We have a diversified culture that is a symbiosis of many immigrants that enrich our society. That divergent pulse reflects in our art and architecture and makes it unique, though globalization is the trend.”
The evening was meticulously crafted with details towards the ambience and paying homage to the heritage site of Claremont house that acted as a backdrop to the evening. The classy event singularly sets the trend of excellence in Architecture, Design and Art that the publication house has ventured on.
Maria Aslam, Founder and Chief Editor of ADA credited her Core team of ADA Awards of which she is the lead, in believing in the program and micro managing the initiative that results in the beautiful evening of the launch. Her team consists of dynamic females that are Sadaf Hatif, Sana Aslam, Aisha Khan, Sophia Qureshi, Khadija Raza Beg and Farida Gaffar
The call for submission of ADA Awards went live during the evening proceedings and is open to all Pakistan and Pakistani diaspora – any/ all Pakistani firms and individuals engaged in the disciplines of architecture, design and art located anywhere in the world. The aim is to identify and celebrate excellence in Architecture, Interiors, Design and Art manifestations as well as individual architects, designers, artists and studios producing the most outstanding work.
ADA Awards provides an opportunity for the region’s creative talent to present innovative and original works to be considered by a jury of leading figures from the world of architecture, interiors, art and design. Assisted by the editors of ADA, a panel of international experts drawn from each of the disciplines will meet in January 2019 to review the submissions and choose the winners.
The inaugural awards ceremony will be held in Karachi in January 2019. Thereafter, they will be held every two years moving through major cities of Pakistan.