Renowned Egyptian architect Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil has been announced as one of the winners of the prestigious Arthur Ross Awards for Excellence in the Classical Tradition for the year 2024.

The Institute of Classical Architecture and Art (ICAA) revealed this award on its website, recognising El-Wakil’s outstanding contributions to architecture.

ICAA, a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting and preserving classical design, said Prof El-Wakil will be presented with the award in architecture at a ceremony scheduled for May at the University Club of New York.

The event, ICAA noted, will host an array of distinguished personalities from various fields, including architecture, design, education, fine arts, and patronage.

Among the other notable recipients are Féau Boiseries for artisanship and craftsmanship, Julia Watson for education, Markham Roberts for interior design, Thomas Wells Schaller for fine arts, and Stephen A Schwarzman for patronage.

Describing El-Wakil’s architectural prowess, ICAA highlighted his significant role as one of the leading voices in contemporary Islamic architecture.

Over four decades, it said that El-Wakil has left an indelible mark by constructing mosques, public buildings, and private residences across the Middle East. His approach beautifully balances tradition with innovation, celebrating the timeless principles of Islamic architecture while incorporating regional nuances into each project.

El-Wakil’s designs integrate traditional elements with modern technology, resulting in structures that are not only functional and environmentally sustainable but also deeply rooted in their cultural context, ICAA added.

Quoting El-Wakil, ICAA cited his profound belief in the importance of tradition in architectural practice. He said: “To abandon tradition, to disregard the achievements and models of the past and to be caught up in the trauma of change means to be incapable of handling the new.”

He said his inspiration was drawn from the natural world, aligning his design philosophy with the divine order.

ICAA noted that El-Wakil’s exceptional talent has earned him prestigious accolades in the past, including two Aga Khan Awards for Architecture (for the Halawa house in Agamy, Egypt, in 1980, and for the Corniche Mosque in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 1989) and the Driehaus Architecture Prize in 2009.

His architectural accomplishments garnered worldwide recognition, firmly establishing him as a leading figure in the field of classical and traditional architecture.

In a statement, ICAA president Peter Lyden said: “The story of classical and traditional architecture, art, and design is a global one, encompassing a great diversity of practices, languages, and precedents, and fittingly this year’s Arthur Ross Award winners reflect a far-flung cross-section of practitioners.”