Designing of an Ismaili Center in America with porous screens in Houston by Farshid Mousavi

Designing of an Ismaili Center in America with porous screens in Houston by Farshid Mousavi,

Farshid Mousavi, based in London, has designed the new Ismaili Center to be built in the Buffalo Bayou,

Houston watershed.

Farshid Mousavi’s firm’s proposal was selected from among the prominent architectural firms in a competition in 2019,

including OMA, David Chipperfield and Studio Gang.

The company designed the new project to foster a spirit of openness and create a dialogue with the Muslim community,

as new images, released by the company, show a light and porous structure dotted

with uniform patterns that provide shade and privacy for the Shiite Ismaili Muslim community in the United States.

The Ismaili Center will occupy a 4.5 hectare site, and other parts of the site will be used for gardens.

The construction of the Ismaili Center was commissioned by His Highness the Aga Khan,

spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and founder and president of the Aga Khan Development Network.

Dedicated to promoting pluralism, public understanding, and civic education, the Ismaili Center in Houston.

will join its peers established in London, Lisbon, Dubai, Dushanbe (Tajikistan), Vancouver and Toronto.

 

Designing of an Ismaili Center in America with porous screens in Houston by Farshid Mousavi

 

Designing of an Ismaili Center in America with porous screens in Houston by Farshid Mousavi

Designed by architects of international standing and a multicultural sensibility,

these buildings are designed to reflect their geographies and contexts.

As ambassadorial buildings around the world, they symbolize the presence of the Ismaili community,

a pluralistic outlook and a spirit of volunteerism.

Project Features

Mousavi drew inspiration from traditional Persian shapes and motifs, including ceramic mosaics

and screens drawn from Islamic traditions around the world.

The Ismaili Center in Houston will be a new venue for educational, cultural and social events,

aimed at encouraging understanding and facilitating the exchange of views across peoples of diverse backgrounds, religions and traditions.

The project aims to build bridges through intellectual exchange, by hosting concerts, concerts, plays,

performances, exhibitions, conferences, seminars, talks, book launches and community gatherings.

The building will also provide a space for quiet contemplation and prayer,

in addition to serving as the administrative headquarters of the Ismaili Community in the USA.

The building is envisioned to have a compact footprint, leaving large portions of the site to be used as gardens.

Given Houston’s often hot and humid climate and the site’s prominence in the city,

the center is designed in a triangular way with each of its volumes hosting a raised veranda to enable social and cultural gatherings to occur outdoors.

The columns would be supported by 49 slender columns,

such as those used at Persepolis and the 17th-century palaces of Isfahan, Persia.

The building will be open on all sides and visible from all outlets leading to the site,

and verandas will make the Ismaili Center open and attractive in every direction.

It will also be wandered at night to a lighthouse along Montrose Street and Allen Parkway.

 

Designing of an Ismaili Center in America with porous screens in Houston by Farshid Mousavi

 

The architectural language of the center

The design of the center is quite contemporary in its general expression, reflecting the rich, historically rooted architectural heritage.

Mousavi’s design combines contemporary architectural technology, with an embossed light steel structure, with traditional Persian shapes and motifs.

The project was conceived with principles of sustainability, to ensure improved energy performance, longevity and durability of materials,

by encasing exposed steel with concrete for 100 years, and using stone for the building’s exterior walls.

Exterior walls will transform from solid spaces to porous screens that provide shade and privacy,

being a texture of stone and from flat surfaces to deep hollows to allow a shady serenity in front of the gardens.

The exterior of the building will also be determined by the simplicity of the form,

openness and abstract decorative character.

The building’s interior design will include three galleries that serve as flexible shared

and non-exclusive spaces between event rooms.

 

Designing of an Ismaili Center in America with porous screens in Houston by Farshid Mousavi

 

Each lobby is located adjacent to a veranda to bring natural light and sky views into the heart of the building.

The stepped structure of the central atrium, clad with faience parapets,

celebrates the heritage of the dome dating back to 3000 BC,

dominant in both the architecture of the Sassanid period in Persia and the Christian buildings of the Byzantine Empire.

The western and eastern lobbies will provide access to a theater,

a large auditorium and educational spaces.

Designing of an Ismaili Center in America with porous screens in Houston by Farshid Mousavi

The center is set to, once again, elevate Houston on the world map as a global city where people of all backgrounds can come together.

Another key element used in the design is the landscaped gardens that will provide a sense of serenity and peace and provide a respite from its urban setting.

 

Designing of an Ismaili Center in America with porous screens in Houston by Farshid Mousavi

 

The gardens will feature tree canopies, fountains, shaded footpaths, flowerbeds,

lawns and walkways, and these will be green spaces that provide rejuvenation for the mind and soul.

The Ismaili Center Houston will introduce a new dimension to the city’s cultural life

and a gathering place for the Ismaili community where visitors will be welcomed.

 

You can follow the architectural blog
For more architectural news
You can also follow more architectural articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.