The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU alumni's project shortlisted for the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture

28 April 2019

Congratulations to DPU alumni Joana Dabaj and Riccardo Conti whose Jarahieh School project has been shortlisted for one of the most prestigious architecture awards

Jarahieh School

The Jarahieh School project implemented by Catalytic Action, a UK Charity founded Joana Dabaj and Riccardo Conti - both graduates of the MSc in Building and Urban Design for Development programme - and chaired by DPU’s Andrea Rigon will compete for US$ 1 million.

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is one of the oldest major awards in the field of architecture. It selects projects – from slum upgrading to high-rise “green” buildings – that not only exhibit architectural excellence but also improve the overall quality of life. The Award rewards architects, but also identifies municipalities, builders, clients, master artisans and engineers who have played important roles in the realization of a project.

The school provides not only educational facilities for children from 300 Syrian refugee families, but is also a hub for community activities and the settlement’s only secure shelter in the event of snowstorm or earthquake. An adaptation of the Expo 2015 Save the Children Italy Pavilion in Milan, it is a source of pride for the community who helped redesign and build it.

The open-sided pavilion was transformed into a series of enclosed spaces around a courtyard through a participative process that used envisioning exercises, focus groups and interviews to engage with children, NGOs, municipality members, teachers and parents. All transformation materials were locally sourced, including sheep’s wool to insulate against cold and heat, regulate humidity, resist fire and provide sound insulation.