Archnet turns 13: His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan & Presidents of MIT and Harvard Lay Foundations for an Architecture of Understanding

“As trustees of God’s creation, we are instructed to seek to leave the world a better place than it was when we came into it.

If ArchNet can help bring values into environments, buildings, and contexts that make the quality of life better for future generations than it is today, it will have served its purpose.”

– His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, 49th Hereditary Imam of the Ismaili Muslims

Archnet is the world’s largest on-line resource on architecture, urbanism, landscape design, and related issues with a particular focus on the Muslim world.

Reflection & Retrospective:

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, 27 September 2002 – While the world remains focused on conflict and destruction amidst Muslim societies, a collaborative venture in technology shows how the East and the West can together construct a world that recognises shared heritage.

His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims; Charles M. Vest, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and Lawrence H. Summers, President of Harvard University 13 years to this day, launched ArchNet – a global electronic resource designed to bridge cultural, civilisational and digital divides. The development of ArchNet is sponsored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

University President LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS joins HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN ’59 and MIT President CHARLES VEST at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning Friday to launch ArchNet, a site devoted to Islamic architecture. (Image credit: Seth Bechis, The Harvard Crimson)
University President LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS joins HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN ’59 and MIT President CHARLES VEST at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning Friday to launch ArchNet, a site devoted to Islamic architecture. (Image credit: Seth Bechis, The Harvard Crimson)

 

“Not only is ArchNet a means by which we share information on architecture and design, it is also a very real attempt to build an architecture of understanding between those regions of the world that might benefit from a better understanding of each other.

I think there is a consensus that we need that now more than ever.

ArchNet’s particular importance lies in the way it informs the debate on what sort of world we seek to build.”

– His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, 49th Hereditary Imam of the Ismaili Muslims

His Highness the Aga Khan (left) talks with Lawrence H. Summers at the launching of ArchNet.org the world's largest online resource of historical and contemporary materials on architecture, urbanism, landscape design, and related issues of concern to the Muslim world - and those interested in it. (Image credit: Stephanie Mitchell, Harvard Gazette)
His Highness the Aga Khan (left) talks with Lawrence H. Summers at the launching of ArchNet.org the world’s largest online resource of historical and contemporary materials on architecture, urbanism, landscape design, and related issues of concern to the Muslim world – and those interested in it. (Image credit: Stephanie Mitchell, Harvard Gazette)

“The world in which all of our children will live, makes it essential for universities like Harvard and MIT to not just deepen our own understanding, but to deepen our contribution to the understanding of things Islamic, to truly globalise what we are all about, because there is very little else that is as important.”

– Lawrence H. Summers, President of Harvard University

“ArchNet fulfils the original promise of the Internet. It provides accessibility to teaching resources that are currently unavailable to many universities, while creating a worldwide on-line community that is constantly enriching the contents of the catalog.

Everyone benefits.

At MIT, we benefit from the upload of unique resources from ArchNet partner schools, while schools around the world have the opportunity to choose teaching materials from the combined resources of MIT, Harvard, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, and other partner schools.”

– Charles M. Vest, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

 

archnet-logo
Archnet is the world’s largest on-line resource on the built environment and related issues with a particular focus on the Muslim world.

With nothing more than a personal computer and an Internet connection, people anywhere in the world can take advantage of this extraordinary online repository. A growing list of partner schools, including institutions in Egypt, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey, contribute to the enrichment of ArchNet by uploading images and information such as faculty research, student projects and departmental monographs. Nearly 6,000 members from 110 countries have already joined the site since it began online testing in 2001.

Version 2.0 of Archnet, developed in 2013 and launched in 2014, is a partnership between the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT Libraries. Together, these two institutions established over three decades ago, share an integral education mission to generate and disseminate knowledge and resources; provide fora for debate and discussion; showcase best practices and lessons learned; and, present Muslim visual and material culture with historic, cultural, and geographic specificity.

The ambition of Archnet 2.0 is to be the authority in the field of architecture and the built environment in Muslim societies today by providing an unparalleled resource featuring vetted and refereed articles, data, and research. Through contributions from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard and MIT, and donated collections of historic archives and documentation on contemporary building trends shaping the built environment today, Archnet continues to grow and is well positioned to realize this ambition.

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