Press Release


Chaouni’s pioneering heritage work and implementation of sustainable design at sites in Morocco, Sierra Leone, and Burkina Faso will be commemorated at the event

May 21, 2024 – World Monuments Fund (WMF) will honor architect Aziza Chaouni as the 2024 Watch Award recipient for her innovative work in heritage preservation through the implementation of sustainable technologies in arid climates. Chaouni’s leadership and inventive solutions have benefited multiple communities and sites across the globe, including her recent collaboration with Lafarge-Holcim Morocco on post-earthquake reconstruction efforts in Haouz. Her collaborations with WMF at the Future of Ontario Place in Canada, Old Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone, and Maison du Peuple in Burkina Faso exemplify her ability to integrate cultural preservation with sustainable design. The ceremony will take place as part of WMF’s annual Summer Soirée, hosted with the WMF Junior Board. This year’s event will be held at 75 Varick’s iconic rooftop in New York City on Wednesday, June 5, 2024.

“Aziza Chaouni has been instrumental in merging architectural preservation with environmental sustainability, particularly in regions that receive low rainfall where such efforts are crucial,” said Bénédicte de Montlaur, President & CEO of WMF. “Her partnerships with World Monuments Fund in North America and Africa demonstrate her dedication and her resourceful approach. Aziza’s work throughout her career aligns with our values in its pursuit of innovative solutions to the various challenges facing our global heritage.”

Chaouni is an associate professor of architecture at the University of Toronto and the founding principal of Aziza Chaouni Projects, with offices in Fez, Morocco, and Toronto, Canada. Chaouni’s work often merges the built and the natural environment, particularly through sustainable technologies in arid climates. A significant portion of her career has been dedicated to heritage conservation, exemplified by her leadership in rehabilitating notable cultural sites such as the Qarawiyyin Library in Morocco, the oldest library in the Middle East.

With WMF, Chaouni has been involved in numerous significant projects such as the Future of Ontario Place and the ongoing rehabilitations of Old Fourah Bay College, the oldest university in West Africa, and Burkina Faso’s Maison du Peuple, designed by architect René Faublée. These projects reflect her deep commitment to heritage conservation and her novel approach to blending cultural legacy with contemporary needs and environmental considerations.

Chaouni’s innovative work has earned her numerous prestigious awards, including top honors from the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, which recognized her projects in both the Global and Regional Africa and Middle East competitions. She has also received the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers, the Great Places Award from the Environmental Design Research Association, and design awards from the American Society of Landscape Architects. Chaouni holds a master’s degree in architecture with distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a bachelor of science with honors in civil engineering from Columbia University.

WMF’s Summer Soirée 2024 will not only pay tribute to Chaouni’s achievements but also raise awareness and support for WMF’s global efforts to protect endangered heritage sites.

About Aziza Chaouni

Aziza Chaouni is an associate professor of architecture at the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design and the founding principal of the design practice Aziza Chaouni Projects (ACP) with offices in Fez, Morocco, and Toronto, Canada. She holds a master’s degree inarchitecture with distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Civil Engineering from Columbia University. Chaouni’s practice, research, and teaching focus on sustainable design and construction in the developing world. She is also interested in the integration of architecture and landscape, particularly through the implementation of sustainable technologies in arid climates.

About Summer Soirée

Summer Soirée is an annual event hosted by World Monuments Fund (WMF) and the WMF Junior Board to celebrate and support its mission of safeguarding cultural heritage. This prestigious gathering highlights the organization's global efforts to preserve and protect endangered sites, bringing together advocates, donors, and leaders in the field of heritage conservation. The soirée not only raises critical funds but also increases awareness about the importance of cultural preservation, showcasing the impactful work and partnerships fostered by WMF in its ongoing advocacy.

About World Monuments Fund

World Monuments Fund is the leading independent organization devoted to safeguarding the world’s most treasured places to enrich lives and build mutual understanding. Since 1965, WMF has raised $300 million to support more than 700 diverse cultural heritage sites across 112 countries.  For more than 55 years, its highly skilled experts have applied proven and effective techniques to preserve important architectural and cultural heritage sites around the globe. Through the World Monuments Watch—a biennial, nomination-based program—WMF uses cultural heritage conservation to empower communities and improve human well-being. In partnership with local communities, funders, and governments, WMF seeks to inspire an enduring commitment to stewardship for future generations. Headquartered in New York City, the organization has offices and affiliates worldwide.

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Media Contact:
Keaton Ramjit,

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