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AGA KHAN CENTRE – THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE

The Aga Khan Centre at King’s Cross has won the People’s Choice award in this year’s New London Awards, organised by NLA, the centre for London’s built environment. The only prize to be chosen directly by the public, the achievement is testament to the affection the building has come to embody from those who use it, especially London’s Ismaili and wider Islamic communities. We delivered the building based on a design concept by the Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki, working collaboratively with Maki and his team in Tokyo.

Conceived as a special place for dialogue, the Aga Khan Centre is nine-storey hybrid building on an approximately 1,000 sqm plot within the wider site of our King’s Cross masterplan. The Centre unites teaching, exhibition, office and event spaces with a public programme and is home to three institutions – Aga Khan University, The Institute of Ismaili Studies and Aga Khan Library – who for the first time have a public presence in the city.

Its singular form is in keeping with the scale of King’s Cross, a public entrance is carved into the southwest corner and an angled pavilion set within landscaped gardens accentuates the top. Embodied in the design are subtle and intentional details and patterns that fuse cosmopolitan influences with Islamic sensibilities. Six gardens are sculpted out of the building as an area in common, outdoor courtyards and terraces, each in the design language of a different Islamic region. These are all in keeping with the building’s ethos – a symbol of a pluralistic Islam at the heart of a global city.