People pass by AUB's Issam Fares Institute (IFI), which is among the 2016 Agha Khan Architecture Award-winning projects. Agha Khat Trust for Culture via AP
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The American University of Beirut's Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI, as it's affectionately known) is housed in a building loved by some, loathed by others.Completed in 2014, the building was designed by the late Zaha Hadid's architecture firm.The IFI building's fame was redoubled Monday when it was honored by the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.The building also received first-hand reviews from the students and teachers who use it.Light filters in from high up the wall through widely spaced trapezoidal windows.Surveying AUB's lower campus from IFI's roof, Farajalla pointed out that the building would have an unobstructed sea view were it not for its tall concrete wall, with only the distinctive porthole windows offering glimpses of the northern view.While the building material – fair-faced concrete – is in line with a 20th-century Lebanese construction culture, it contrasts with the umber tones of the other campus buildings.Jude, an AUB masters student, summed up her peers' incongruous attitudes toward Hadid's building.
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