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Old April 4th, 2013, 12:35 PM   #21
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Architecture of the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon


A woman walks along a watercourse in one of the flourishing inner courtyards. Photo: Gary Otte


The intricacy of the fašade glimpsed in the motif detail. Photo: Gary Otte


Detail of the caligraphic stone. Photo: Gary Otte

www.theismaili.org
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Old April 4th, 2013, 12:38 PM   #22
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Architecture of the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon


The inner space — looking up at the domes from within. Photo: Gary Otte


Light passes through opalescent glass onto calligraphic stone. Photo: Gary Otte


Lanterns, descending, in the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon. Photo: Gary Otte

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Old April 4th, 2013, 12:39 PM   #23
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Architecture of the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon


Cool water courses through the courtyard at dusk. Photo: Gary Otte


The calligraphic wall is lit and visible through the structured fašade. Photo: Gary Otte

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Old April 4th, 2013, 12:50 PM   #24
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The Ismaili Centre, Dubai

The site of the Ismaili Centre, Dubai was a gift of the Ruling Family of Dubai presented by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, to His Highness the Aga Khan on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of his accession to the Imamat in 1982.

Over the subsequent quarter century, the Ismaili Muslim community in Dubai grew and evolved together with the city itself. As the metropolis expanded, the site in Oud Metha saw its residential and commercial neighbourhood gradually enriched by the establishment of cultural and social facilities. In parallel, the community and the Aga Khan Development Network increased their engagement with philanthropic, academic, humanitarian and development organisations in Dubai and the wider region.

It soon became clear that a complex around which to centre these activities could contribute also to its immediate surroundings. The Ismaili Centre, Dubai was conceived in an effort to complement evolutions in technology and urban development with a long-established endeavour to revitalise the traditions of architecture, craftsmanship and landscape design in the Islamic world.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum shares with HH The Aga Khan, a vision for the future in keeping with Islamic traditions of search for knowledge and contributing to the betterment of humanity. It is in this shared spirit that the construction and development of the Centre advanced. The foundation stone was laid on 13 December 2003, and the Centre was opened on 27 March 2008 by HH The Aga Khan in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum and His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan — senior members of the ruling families of the United Arab Emirates.


Inspiration and aspiration: the Ismaili Centre against the Dubai skyline. Photo: Gary Otte

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Old April 4th, 2013, 12:55 PM   #25
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Architecture of the Ismaili Centre, Dubai

The Ismaili Centre’s design brief described a desire for a sequential, experiential and integrated use of space. Clear emphasis was placed on ensuring order and harmony and on fostering mutual respect and understanding both within the Ummah and across society at large. At the same time, the Ismaili Centre was expected to be a metaphor for a time of renewed vigour, growth and commitment. The design and construction would need to take account of Dubai's climate, of indigenous building and craft traditions and methodologies, as indeed of coherent landscaping. In an environment where glass and concrete towers have often set the trend, the objective was to allow innovation to draw on tradition, all the while preserving symmetry, rhythm, unity and continuity.

Respecting a history of tolerance and openness, Egyptian architects Rami El-Dahan and Soheir Farid sought inspiration from the Fatimid mosques of Cairo. Maintaining their focus on the human scale and the recent past, they also drew on the insights of a mentor, the late Hassan Fathy, renowned in the 20th century for his building in clay and for his “architecture for the people.” Their prior experience encompassed mosques, housing, hotels, resorts, commercial projects, historic rehabilitation and urban planning.

Designing contemporaneously the Hilltop Restaurant in Azhar Park on the edge of historic Cairo (a city founded by His Highness the Aga Khan’s ancestor, the Caliph-Imam al Mu’izz in 969 CE) strengthened the architects' familiarity with the vocabulary and spatial concepts that would inform the Ismaili Centre, Dubai.

The use of masons and craftsmen, and of forms with distinct historical origins, did not distract from the originality of design, execution or technology. Whether with brick, stone, marble or wood, the essential human touch remained a vital component of an enterprise that sought to approach grandeur with humility. Committed to the parameters of the Centre’s function, the architects applied their knowledge of structural geometry, and of the way shape and ambience were created in extant Fatimid mosques in Cairo, to contemporary Dubai.

Exceptionally innovative and responsive to the Centre’s requirements and the community’s ethos, the multidirectional domes are a synthesis of skilled masonry, the physics of construction, material technology and the spatial semantic that relates heaven to earth. Of equal symbolic significance, are the variant fountains and water features. Each is distinctive in style and role.

Each, by its appearance and function, corresponds to the mood and purpose of the spaces it serves to articulate. Inlaid, hand-worked and crafted patterns in carefully selected types of marble and hardwood for interiors and exteriors are a deliberate effort to relate the aesthetic to human talent. Apertures of all dimensions and lamps of innumerable variation remind us of the effect of light, both natural and artificial, on different surfaces. At each interval of contrasts are continuous allusions to the allegory of “Light” from the Holy Qur’an.

The landscaping also takes as a starting point the representation in the Holy Qur’an of paradise as a garden. Symbolic of continuity, growth and change, the natural features of both the even and uneven soft surfaces throughout the complex and the adjoining Park incorporate trees and flower beds whose effect on the senses extends beyond the physical. Date and fan palms, rolling lawns, cool ferns and seasonal plants in and around the Centre’s courtyards also temper the heat and aridity enabling the Centre to enjoy its own milder microclimate.

Faithful at once to an atmosphere of reflection and learning but also to one of calm repose and togetherness, the Centre’s design has woven into its common areas alcoves, loggia, stone benches and balconies to provide vantages for interaction and introspection. Versatile in their use, rooms intended for active learning are not only conducive to the exercise of creative imagination and constructive exchange of ideas, but are also properly equipped. Pedagogical spaces, recreational areas, administrative and hospitality facilities have all been designed to accommodate appropriate fixtures and the latest technology. Every distinct common space emphasises a reaching outwards towards others even as it facilitates a process of personal search.


HH The Aga Khan is joined by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum (left) and His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan for the unveilling of the ceremonial plaque marking the opening of the Ismaili Centre, Dubai. Photo: Aziz Islamshah

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Old April 4th, 2013, 12:58 PM   #26
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Architecture of the Ismaili Centre, Dubai


Entrance into the Ismaili Centre, Dubai — a plurality of perspectives. Photo: Gary Otte


Shades of interwoven loggia. Photo: Gary Otte


A fašade of interspersed openings facing the courtyard. Photo: Gary Otte

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Old April 4th, 2013, 12:59 PM   #27
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Architecture of the Ismaili Centre, Dubai


Water courses through channels, inlaid in the Takhtabosh Courtyard. Photo: Gary Otte


Fountains of arboreal calm: the Takhtabosh Courtyard at dusk. Photo: Gary Otte


The Social Hall of the Ismaili Centre, Dubai can facilitate many types of gatherings. Photo: Gary Otte

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Old April 4th, 2013, 01:02 PM   #28
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Architecture of the Ismaili Centre, Dubai


Honeycombs of amber emanate at dusk. Photo: Gary Otte


Shaded benches look out onto the courtyard. Photo: Gary Otte


Passageways to enlightenment. Photo: Gary Otte

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Old April 4th, 2013, 01:05 PM   #29
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Architecture of the Ismaili Centre, Dubai


Waves in similitude: alcoves along the axial symmetrical entrance. Photo: Gary Otte


Reflections at the entrance to the heptagon. Photo: Gary Otte


A reflective space. Photo: Gary Otte

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Old April 4th, 2013, 01:06 PM   #30
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Architecture of the Ismaili Centre, Dubai


Illumination in concentricity: the chandelier of the main dome. Photo: Gary Otte


A space for learning in the Ismaili Centre, Dubai. Photo: Gary Otte


The salsabil water feature is the centrepiece of the intimate Morning Prayer Hall Courtyard. Photo: Gary Otte

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Old April 4th, 2013, 01:11 PM   #31
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The Dubai Park

Situated across the road from the Ismaili Centre Dubai, the Dubai Park is a gift from HH The Aga Khan to the city of Dubai. It was developed by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network.

The 3 000 square metre park was conceived as a neighbourhood garden based on the concept of an Islamic garden. The serene setting is reflective of its Islamic heritage, drawing on the traditions of a faith which has inspired outstanding architecture and landscapes for many centuries in Dubai and throughout the world. For example, archways from the Fatimid period of the 10th to 12th centuries have been used in the park structures. The project architect, Maher Stino, was also the landscape architect of Al-Azhar Park, a project of the Trust in Cairo, Egypt.

Situated at the summit of the park is a grand pergola that provided a raised shaded sitting area from which the entire park is visible. Additional sitting alcoves and concrete benches are located throughout the garden under the shade of palm trees for those wishing to enjoy the evening breeze. Three gates allow for the easy flow of people from all three road sides of the park. One of the entrances lies along the axis of the raised pergola from which the cascading fountain originates.

In common with many Islamic inspired gardens, the fountains allow the water to flow along channels which are interconnected with water pools. The criss-cross fountains recall similar features found at the Al Hambra in Granada, Spain. Water channels run along the sitting alcoves giving an all-encompassing feel of water.

While the pergolas are made of African teak, the low boundary walls are finished in Aleppo limestone. The fountains are finished in granite and the hard landscape is a combination of concrete pavers, polished and flamed granite. The soft landscape consists of trees, shrubs, ground covers and climbers. These include tall palms, fragranced jasmine, and colourful lantana and bougainvillea.

The design of this small park provides something for all visitors, whether they wish to sit and read a book, allow their senses to be stimulated by the scents of flowers and the sound of water, or simply to admire nature while strolling along the gently curving walkway.


In the Dubai Park, located opposite the Ismaili Centre, Dubai, water flows from the fountains along channels that are interconnected with pools. The criss-cross fountains are inspired by the Al-Hambra. Photo: Gary Otte


The beautiful landscaped gardens in a serene setting reflect an Islamic tradition. Photo: Gary Otte


The grand pergola at the summit of the park provides a raised shaded sitting area with a view of the entire park. Photo: Gary Otte

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Old April 4th, 2013, 01:16 PM   #32
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Architecture of the Ismaili Centre, Dubai


The Ismaili Centre, Dubai. Photo: Gary Otte


The main entrance hall of the Ismaili Centre, Dubai draws architectural inspiration from Fatimid mosques. At the centre of the colourfully patterned marble floor is an ornamental fountain crafted from a solid block of Carrara marble. Photo: Gary Otte


The main entrance hall dome is a visual marvel that rises in a series of arches and corbels upon which the brick dome culminates at its apex. Photo: Gary Otte

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Old April 4th, 2013, 01:18 PM   #33
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Architecture of the Ismaili Centre, Dubai


The main courtyard features an intricate geometric arrangement of channels that use gravity to carry water from a central fountain. The marble patterns and flower beds draw upon various traditions from across the Islamic world. Photo: Gary Otte


The congregational hall of the Ismaili Centre, Dubai features the building's largest dome. Its octagonal shape is supported by meticulously engineered heavy corbels, which dominate the space. The ambience is set by the enormous brass chandelier from Egypt. Photo: Gary Otte

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Old April 4th, 2013, 01:29 PM   #34
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The Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe

Opened in 2009, the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe is the first such Centre in Central Asia — a region that has been home to Ismaili Muslims for more than a thousand years. It stands as both a reminder of great history and accomplishment, and a call on the peoples of the region to reflect on that inheritance as they shape the world of tomorrow.

Inspired by some of the region’s most distinctive monuments, the architecture of the Ismaili Centre blends many craft and artisanal traditions of Central Asia. It is designed to facilitate cultural and intellectual exchange, and to re-invigorate the spirit of enquiry characterised by scholars whose contributions over the centuries were encouraged by the Ismaili Muslim community under the patronage of its leadership.



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Old April 4th, 2013, 01:33 PM   #35
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Architecture of the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe


Looking across the lawn towards the Main Entrance of the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe. Photo: Gary Otte


The mingling of wood with masonry and tile lends warmth to tall interior spaces. The striking blue tiles, mounted in specially created niches, were hand made by master artisans in Central Asia using traditional craftsmanship. Photo: Gary Otte


This skylight, in the foyer of the entrance to the Social Hall, is based on the traditional design of the roof of a Pamiri home. Photo: Gary Otte

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Old April 4th, 2013, 01:34 PM   #36
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Architecture of the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe


A view down the axial corridor of the administration area from the main entrance of the building. The changing play of light and shade created by sunlight filtering through a wooden lattice, forms patterns on the walls and floor that follow the movement of the sun. Photo: Moez Visram


The intricate, inlaid pattern of the Social Hall floor incorporates three different types of wood, adding to the elegance of this space. Photo: Moez Visram


An alcove at the Main Entrance of the building. Notice the granite floor patterns. Photo: Moez Visram

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Old April 4th, 2013, 01:37 PM   #37
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Architecture of the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe


The ceiling above the foyer at the Main Entrance in the Administration area. Photo: Moez Visram


A view from the foyer towards the Prayer Hall Ante Room. Brick patterns and the calligraphy crowning the walls are among the prominent textures that characterise this space. Photo: Moez Visram


Light, cast across a wall of calligraphic repetition of the names “Allah”, “Muhammad”, “Ali”, “Hasan”, “Hussain” and “Zahra”, is the dominant feature of the Prayer Hall. Photo: Moez Visram

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Old April 4th, 2013, 01:38 PM   #38
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Architecture of the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe


A detailed view of the calligraphic patterns, reciting “Allah”, “Muhammad”, “Ali”, “Hasan”, “Hussain” and “Zahra”, inlaid in brick. Photo: Moez Visram


A view from the Main Entrance shows a seating alcove on the left, a reception desk on the right, and the axial corridor of the Administration area leading to the Great Courtyard. Photo: Moez Visram


A view down the concourse between the Great Courtyard and the Prayer Hall space, looking towards the Literature Centre. Photo: Moez Visram

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Old April 4th, 2013, 01:42 PM   #39
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Architecture of the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe


An evening view of the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe. Pedestrian walkways line the cascading water feature, leading to the building’s Main Entrance. Photo: Moez Visram


Clay bricks, woven in a variety of patterns, are the most distinctive aspect of the complex. Photo: Moez Visram


Looking up at the Youth and Education Portal from the Great Courtyard. Photo: Moez Visram

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Old April 5th, 2013, 05:50 AM   #40
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Lions Gate Jamatkhana, North Vancouver

PROJECT SCOPE | A winner of multiple awards, including the Award of Distinction for Architecture in Interior Design from the District of North Vancouver, this facility is comprised of a prayer hall, ante-room, foyer, support space, classrooms, library, commercial kitchen, 3 squash courts, multipurpose hall with stage for performing arts, and special lighting for sports and social events.

UNIQUE FEATURES | The site of the project was actually a former tennis club. The exterior was wrapped in cedar lattice work ‘ribbons’. Built into the latticework are motifs reminiscent of Islamic art and architecture. These embellishments are brought forward while the structure itself appears to recede into the landscape. The portals take their cues from First Nations architecture.



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