The third Architecture, Design and Art (ADA) Awards were held on February 3, 2023 at Lahore Fort, in the Walled City and aimed to recognise and celebrate the best in architecture, design and art. They were organised by ADA – a bi-monthly magazine established in 2008 by Maria Aslam, a writer, architectural historian, and environmental activist; with time, the magazine widened its scope and now organises workshops in addition to the ADA Awards, the first in January 2019 which has become an annual event.
Kamran Lashari, Director General of the Walled City of Lahore Authority was the chief guest at the ceremony this year. The chairpersons were Yasmeen Cheema, conservation architect and planner (architecture), Aisha Khan, Head of Communications, Getz Pharma (design) and Naazish Attaullah, a prominent artist, art historian and a former principal of the National College of Arts (art). Each category was assigned a panel comprising 4-5 jurists who were experts in their respective fields living in Pakistan and overseas. The award trophies were designed by artist Abdul Jabbar Gul.
During the ceremony, a performance Nizar Lalani choreographed by Adnan Hussain ’s team paid homage to the 75 years of Pakistan’s independence. Soch – the well-known band kept the audience on the toes with their popular songs while Arfa Syeda Zehra, an educationist and a specialist in Urdu stole the show with her satire and thought provoking dialogue.
A total of eight winners and 10 honourable mentions were announced across three categories: art, architecture and design; nearly 500 entries were received from Pakistan and other countries including Australia, Netherland, Europe, Dubai and India, as the awards were open to Pakistanis living anywhere in the world.
Maria Aslam, founder of ADA Awards feels that the response in terms of entries this year was quite lukewarm as not many artists and designers submitted their work, especially in the design category.
There were many other categories for design such as fashion design, however the work submitted was not at par. According to her “the need for better and greater submissions, specifically on the design front, is a challenge. ADA really struggled in reaching out to the designers and the entries that came in were disappointing.” As a result, although there were a total of 24 award categories, only eight awards were given to the following winners within their respective categories:
• Shahid Abdullah: Residence 500+
• Tariq Hasan: Civic Buildings
• Christophe Polack & Asiya Sadiq (Sadiq and Polack): Competition Projects
• Arshad Faruqui: Interior Design
• Raza Zahid: Industrial Design
• Tahira Norren: 2D
• Aiman Gillani: 3D
• Pak Khawateen: Time Based/Interactive
The Socially Responsive award was conferred to Sakina Hassan Jafri for her sensitive work at the playground of Central Jail, Karachi, and Lifetime Achievement Awards were given to architect and urban planner Arif Hasan and Zohra Hussain of Chawkandi Gallery; Noorjehan Bilgrami and Rashid Rana received a special award for their work at the Pakistan Pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2021-2022.
Stressing the need to have more participation Aslam says, “It is also the inclination of participation or motivation that is missing. The times are so focused on the validation of social media that the process of submission juries and discourse are not considered important. But, the best part is that we have good works moving around that should be highlighted as they are the catalyst for change recognition inclusion and creating dialogues.”
Despite this disappointment, Aslam is now planning the fourth edition of the awards which are slated to take place in 2024.