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Plans announced for Houston to house America's first Ismaili Center 2021-11-16

Tuesday, 2021, November 16
KHOU 11 khou.com
Design of new Ismaili Centre in Houston Credit: the.ismali
Brianh Hawkins

His Highness the Aga Khan commissioned the center as place for civic outreach and multi-cultural understanding.

HOUSTON — Houston is soon to be home for the first Ismaili Center in the U.S.

Plans for the center were unveiled on Monday by world-renowned architect Farshid Moussavi. It's set to be built on Allen Parkway and Montrose Boulevard with commissioning from His Highness the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. Once it's complete, it'll join its counterparts in London (UK), Lisbon (Portugal), Dubai (UAE), Dushanbe (Tajikistan), Vancouver and Toronto (Canada).

The Ismaili Center Houston is meant to be a space for civic outreach and understanding of people from different backgrounds. It'll host concerts, plays, seminars and more while also being a space for meditation and prayer.

Moussavi's design for the center is a mix of historically rooted architecture and present-day expression. She says planning the center with His Highness has been challenging but rewarding since they have similar aspirations for it.

Moussavi says, "We have tried to work with Islamic design philosophy, and celebrate its singularity and unique qualities as well as the features it has in common with Western design, so that the building, both through its fabric and through the way it is used, would act as a symbol of dialogue.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is looking forward to opening day for the Ismaili Center. He says it'll be beneficial to the city and the community it's being built for.

“The Center will elevate, yet again, Houston on the world map as a global city where people of all backgrounds can come together," says Turner. "The Ismaili Muslim community in Houston and the United States continues to actualize the values that these Centers aim to promote – friendship, service, and mutual understanding.”

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