with the opening of its doors on september 18, 2014 in toronto, canada, the aga khan museum will showcase an extensive collection of islamic cultural and scientific contributions from throughout centuries of history. the building, designed by japanese architect fumihiko maki in collaboration with local firm moriyama & teshima, is conceived as a temple-like house for the diverse range of artifacts. the angular mass is clad in white granite, and contains spaces which are defined by their luminous conditions. pieces in the collection include portraits, textiles, miniatures, manuscripts, ceramics, tiles, medical texts, books, and musical instruments, dating back to as far as ten centuries old.

aga khan museum fumihiko maki toronto designboom
the angular mass of the museum is clad in white granite
image © gary otte photography (also main image)

 

 

the aga khan museum site features a large park (designed by landscape architect vladimir djurovic), which contains many pools and provides new green space for the city of toronto. the cultural building is complemented by the nearby ismaili center, a new prayer hall designed by architect charles correa.

 

the institution’s program consists of museum galleries, an auditorium, education spaces, and a restaurant.  these elements are arranged around a central courtyard, which both serves as an outdoor area for activities while also providing daylight to the interiors.

aga khan museum fumihiko maki toronto designboom
large ponds and tree groves provide a new park space for toronto
image © gary otte photography

 

 

the aga khan states the intentions of the new cultural institution: ‘one of the lessons we have learned in recent years is that the world of islam and the western world need to work together much more effectively at building mutual understanding – especially as these cultures interact and intermingle more actively. we hope that this museum will contribute to a better understanding of the peoples of islam in all of their religious, ethnic, linguistic, and social diversity.’

aga khan museum fumihiko maki toronto designboom
a deep canopy cantilevers above the main entrance
(left) image © gary otte photography | (right) image © tom arban photography

aga khan museum fumihiko maki toronto designboom
the roof edge breaks away to provide patterned skylights
image © tom arban photography

aga khan museum fumihiko maki toronto designboom
image © tom arban photography

aga khan museum fumihiko maki toronto designboom
the building’s program is arranged around a central enclosed courtyard
(left) image © tom arban photography | (right) image © gary otte photography

aga khan museum fumihiko maki toronto designboom
image © tom arban photography

aga khan museum fumihiko maki toronto designboom
screen patterning references traditional islamic motifs
image © tom arban photography

aga khan museum fumihiko maki toronto designboom
the museum shares its site with a new prayer hall
image © kalloon photography

 

 

 

project info:

 

location: toronto, ontario, canada
completion date: 2013
building type: museum, auditorium
structural system: reinforced concrete, steel
number of floors: 1 basement + 2 stories
site area: 70,000 sqm
building area: 4,000 sqm
total floor area: 11,600 sqm
architect of record: moriyama & teshima architects
structural engineer: halcrow yolles
mechanical / electrical engineer: the mitchell partnership / crossey engineering