Danish park designed to promote tolerance in community wins architectural award

Mon Oct 3, 2016 12:35pm EDT
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By Noah Browning

AL AIN, United Arab Emirates (Reuters) - An urban park in Denmark to promote tolerance between immigrants and local residents and a mosque in a flood-prone area of Bangladesh were among winners of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture on Monday.

The $1 million prize is awarded every three years to honor architectural projects that address the needs of societies in which Muslims have a significant presence.

This year's six winners also included a children's library in Beijing and a pedestrian bridge in Tehran.

Superkilen, a series of public spaces in a deprived immigrant area of the Danish capital Copenhagen, was designed as an outdoor meeting place for people of 60 nationalities living in the area - including many refugees.

Islamic-themed sculptures and skateboard ramps are a feature of the urban park and Muslim women bring their children there to play on the swings.

    "Architecture can be a means of joining people. It is a way to showcase commonalities between the Muslim communities that exist in all regions of the world," said Mohammed Al Asad, a member of the Award's steering committee.

    "Of course there are tensions in Europe between the immigrant and host populations. This project is unique because it brings together all the different ... communities," he said.

    The six winners were chosen from 348 projects in 69 countries nominated for the award, and were announced in a ceremony in the renovated 19th century Jahili fort in the United Arab Emirates.   Continued...

People play basketball at Superkilen park in Copenhagen, Denmark April 22, 2016. Picture taken April 22, 2016.  Aga Khan Award for Architecture/Handout via REUTERS