Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1989.
This late 13th-century mosque of the Bahri Mamluk period is the oldest standing in Sidon. Built on the remains of a Crusader fortress, the south wall is still braced by five sturdy Crusader buttresses, in stylistic and chronological juxtaposition to the minaret executed by the Ottomans in the second half of the 19th century. This outstanding monument was severely damaged by shellfire during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Its users, instead of building a new mosque, elected to restore their old one, the funds having been provided by a native son living in Paris. Assisting the architect in the thorough documentation of the structure was a team of architects and students from Beirut. The walls, piers, arches, vaults and domes that had been completely or partially destroyed were rebuilt, and an iron anchorage was placed in the minaret. The jury noted that this effort, was a "combination of human steadfastness in the face of tragedy, of restoration talent and inventiveness in particularly difficult circumstances, and of dedicated patronage and sacrifice that makes the reconstruction of the mosque a beacon in a tortured land and a sign of hope for the rebuilding of war torn nations."
Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Umari Great Mosque Restoration (Variant)
حملة ترميم وإعادة اعمار المسجد العمري الكبير (Translated)
Constructed by Sultan Al-Mansur Qalawun, Shelled and Partially Destroyed by Israeli Bombardment, 13th c.
Lewcock, Ronald. "Conservation in the Islamic World." In Building for Tomorrow, edited by Azim Nanji, 56-63. London: Academy Group Ltd., 1994.
The more than 19 essays on the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in this retrospective suggest there is a transnational and transterritorial landscape’ out of which a constructive discourse can emerge. Through a definition of architecture that engages the whole built environment and situates human and cultural concerns at heart of the conversation about the future of building in the Muslim world, the Award has led, initiated and sustained an enabling series of conversations. The essays in this volume, while different in focus and approach, indicate how the Award has fostered and forged such “a community of concern”.
Source: Azim Nanji in “Enabling Conversations” from Building for Tomorrow.