The 2A Asia Architecture award goal is to avoid the extinction of cultural identity in architecture and emphasis on these
unique distinctions rather than global modernism. The competition is the context to highlight and recognize essences of
Asian Architecture and present them to the audience. For example cultural memory, continuity and integrity is of the essence.
Cultural identity is related to history, spirituality, ethnicity and beliefs. Cultural identity is not a rigid identity causing
separation from the cosmopolitan movement in architecture but the question is how to see national identity as an open one.
As Rem Koolhaas’ proposition for Venice Architecture Biennale asks whether national identity has been, ‘sacrificed to
modernity’. In this sense modernism has often been more an enemy to a genuine cultural identity than an expression of it.
Another essence that 2A magazine constantly accentuated is the spirituality; there are moments that architecture offers more
than the physicality; it is an experience and meaning. To illuminate the essence of spirituality, I would like to refer to a
private interview that I had with Krishna Doshi in 2012 where he strongly emphasizes on the sense of wonder in architecture.
“Do we recognize it or do we feel it? When you feel something sacred, when you feel something that surprises you, when
you feel the sense of wonder and you know it is not done by you, then it happened. So the sense of wonder or the sense of
surprise is spiritual because it is unknown (you can feel it but you can not touch it, or smell it) but you feel there is something
that you call intuition. For us, it is the intuition that is part of spirituality.... For me spirituality is something that affect your
inner core”. Understanding the significance of spirituality and other non-physical aspects of architecture, which have been
neglected or in some places completely ignored, 2A decided to focus more on this theme, because we believe the future
of architecture can be enriched if we incorporate the non-physical aspects into the physical designs. 2A as an international
media in the Middle East wants to be a pioneer and promoter of this process.
In my point of view, the relation between cultural identity and modernization should be a dialectical and eventually an
agreeable one. A viable and sustainable identity should continue to guide architects and urban designers in their quest for
what is truly good, and modernization should basically supply more effective means for that search rather than dominate the
whole investigation. Therefore, in 2A Asia Architecture award, jury members will thoroughly review the submitted projects
to recognize these viable quests and identify essences of Architecture in Asia. 2AAA organizing committee deeply believes
in AIA statement about architectural design competition that “design excellence is often the result of a well-planned and
clearly executed design competition.” Accordingly, the whole process of this award, developing criteria and jury procedure
has been professionally designed and executed.
To conclude, I would like to invite individuals or groups that have done substantial contribution to today’s architecture in
Asia in terms of contemporary challenges of the field and region and influenced on the theory and practice of architecture to
participate in the 2A Asia Architecture Award. In this case, 2AAA will be a landmark and turning point allowing practitioners
to pause and reflect upon what Asia, as part of global community, have achieved in the field of Architecture, what we have
done wrong, and where we go from here.