The Aga Khan Museum

Toronto / Canada / 2014

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The Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, which is scheduled to open in Autumn 2014, will be the first museum in North America dedicated to Islamic arts and cultures. The collection’s paintings, ceramics, textiles, illuminated manuscripts, medical and scientific texts, tiles and musical instruments reflect the historic, geographic and cultural diversity of Muslim societies from Spain in the West to China in the East.


In designing the Aga Khan Museum, Fumihiko Maki, winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, used light as his inspiration. He ensured not only that light is ever-present in the building, but that, depending on the time of day or season, light will animate the building in myriad ways: throwing patterns on the exterior walls of Brazilian granite, enhancing interior spaces, or illuminating the open-roofed courtyard. The building’s compact footprint — 81 metres long and 54 metres wide — contains an impressive variety of spaces, including two exhibition galleries, areas for art conservation and storage, a 350-seat theatre, and two classrooms. Within an unmistakably contemporary design, Maki incorporates historical elements originating in Islamic cultures, building bridges between eras as well as civilizations.


Across from the Museum is the Ismaili Centre Toronto, designed by renowned architect Charles Correa. The Centre incorporates spaces for social and cultural gatherings, intellectual engagement and for spiritual reflection. Its crystalline frosted glass dome roof, which marks the highest point of the 6.8-hectare site, is mirrored in the five granite-lined pools of the formal gardens — designed by landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic — which are part of a landscaped park. The Aga Khan Park connects the Centre with the Museum and provides a place equally suited to tranquil reflection and dynamic programming.


Founded by His Highness the Aga Khan, the Museum will have an exceptional permanent collection, an active performing arts calendar, temporary exhibitions and learning programs for all ages. Housed in an innovative and beautiful new building designed by the Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki, the Museum will include galleries, exhibition spaces, classrooms, a reference library and a state-of-theart auditorium. In these spaces the Museum will invite the public to experience the living traditions of Muslim societies and to learn about their artistic and cultural practices. The Aga Khan Museum has partnered with leading global institutions, such as the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, to advance scholarship, create exhibitions and engage in promoting the understanding and appreciation of the beauty of the arts of the Islamic world.


Since 2007, selected pieces from the Museum’s collection have been on tour in Europe and Asia. More than 1.5 million people visited the travelling exhibitions in Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Turkey, Russia, Malaysia and Singapore.


The Aga Khan Museum has been established and developed by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The AKTC focuses on the physical, social, cultural and economic revitalization of communities in the Muslim world. It is part of the AKDN, a private, international, non-denominational development organization founded by His Highness the Aga Khan. The AKDN is active in 30 countries and employs more than 80,000 people globally. Its nine agencies address complex development issues, including the provision of quality healthcare and education services, cultural and economic revitalization, micro-enterprise, entrepreneurship and economic development, the advancement of civil society, and the protection of the environment.

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    The Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, which is scheduled to open in Autumn 2014, will be the first museum in North America dedicated to Islamic arts and cultures. The collection’s paintings, ceramics, textiles, illuminated manuscripts, medical and scientific texts, tiles and musical instruments reflect the historic, geographic and cultural diversity of Muslim societies from Spain in the West to China in the East. In designing the Aga Khan Museum, Fumihiko Maki, winner of...

    Project details
    • Year 2014
    • Work finished in 2014
    • Client Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC)
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Museums
    • Websitehttp://www.agakhanmuseum.org
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