On Wednesday, Iranian architect Alireza Taghaboni received the first Dorfman Award at a ceremony held at London's Royal Academy of Arts (RA) as part of the academy's inaugural Architecture Awards Week. Supported by the Dorfman Foundation and nominated by academy members, curators, and journalists, the Dorfman Award celebrates "an international talent representing the future of architecture" and aims to highlight "the relationship between art and architecture," according to a press release. Taghaboni was selected ahead of four other architect candidates: Anne Holtrop, founder of Netherlands and Bahrain–based practice Studio Anne Holtrop; Rahel Shawl, founder of Ethiopian architecture practice RAAS Architects; Go Hasegawa, founder of Japanese firm Go Hasegawa and Associates; and Bogotá, Colombia–based design collective Arquitectura Expandida. Following public presentations by each candidate, Taghaboni was presented with the 10,000 pounds (approximately $13,000) award.
Taghaboni has been practicing architecture since 2004. He founded his Tehran-based architecture practice Next Office in 2009 and has worked to "provide contemporary responses to traditional Iranian architecture," according to the release. His projects are inspired by Iran's climate and the economic, political, and sociocultural context of the project sites. Next Office has won several architecture awards, including Memar Awards, a national annual architecture award. His iconic Sharifi-ha condo apartment, featuring a shape-shifting façade, was shortlisted at the 2014 World Architecture Festival. Taghaboni holds a Ph.D. in architecture from Azad University in Tehran and currently serves as a faculty member and a partner at the Center for Contemporary Architecture in Tehran.
"Despite the political challenges, Alireza remains rooted to the local and social issuers of his country," said juror Louisa Hutton, Hon. FAIA, in a press release. "These uncertainties, however, do not stop him experimenting with material, form, and construction, working towards his own distinctive aesthetic."
Chaired by Hutton, the 2018 jury comprised architect Richard Rogers, Hon. FAIA; dean of Harvard Graduate School of Design Mohsen Mostafavi, Intl. Assoc. AIA; BBC broadcaster Razia Iqbal; artist Conrad Shawcross; and Japanese architect Itsuko Hasegawa, Hon. FAIA.