The Islamic Cemetery in Altach, Vorarlberg, Austria, is one of the five recipients of the 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Selected from more than 400 nominated projects, this prestigious award is given every three years to projects that go beyond exemplary design to create a positive, meaningful contribution in communities with significant Muslim population.
Designed by architect Bernardo Bader with a prayer space conceived by ACT Assistant Professor Azra Akšamija, the cemetery provides a place for Islamic funerals while celebrating the cultural diversity of Austria. This cemetery is the first of its kind in the region of Vorarlberg and the second one in the country. Previously, the Muslim population would have to send their dead overseas to receive the traditional burial. Inspired by the idea of the primordial garden — a recurring theme across religions — the cemetery answers a critical need in Islamic practice through a “culturally sensitive aesthetic that is simultaneously local, Islamic, and European.”