Visitors can see the Ismaili Centre’s Mecca-facing prayer hall – situated across the garden – in the windows above the Aga Khan Museum’s exit.
“It’s the only view of the outside world from within the building. We created this corridor directly across the garden to pay reverence to it.”
– Gary Kamemoto, Director, Maki and Associates.
The reference is subtle and non-obtrusive.
This is characteristic of how the organisation has chosen to engage non-believers: with gentleness, not coercion.
Preface: Toronto’s newest cultural landmark is the Aga Khan Museum, dedicated to collecting art and artefacts from throughout the Islamic world. A serene and inclusive site, it aims to educate and unite visitors of all faiths.
November 2014 Issue 78, volume 8 p.181-184 – Writer: Jason Li – Photographer: Alexi Hobbs
The Aga Khan Museum is glistening confidently, almost defiantly, beneath overcast skies when monocle visits. Opened in September on the outskirts of Toronto, it is North America’s first repository of artworks and artefacts from the Muslim world. The Aga Khan, the France-based spiritual leader of an estimated 15 million Ismaili Muslims, conceived the project 20 years ago.
“The objective is to educate the world not through the formal language of textbooks but through the language of objects, which have emotional impact on both young and old.”
– Luis Monreal, General Manager, Aga Khan Trust for Culture
The solution has been modelled after the Shah Mosque and its adjacent grounds in Isfahan, Iran. The ca$300m (€212m) Toronto interpretation is a 100-metre-wide char-bagh (a formal four-part garden) flanked on one side by the Ismaili Centre of Toronto and the Aga Khan Museum on the other. “The buildings are subordinate to the formal garden that embodies the identity of the place,” says Kamemoto. On entering the tranquil compound visitors leave behind the rumbling traffic of the nearby Don Valley parkway and step into an environment calibrated to relax the spirit.
Click here to read the complete story: http://monocle.com/magazine/issues/78/faith-healer/
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