The team that designed the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat building in Ottawa has received the prestigious Governor General’s Medal in Architecture, recognizing outstanding achievement in projects by Canadian architects.
The design – a collaboration between Maki and Associates and Moriyama & Teshima Architects – emerges from His Highness the Aga Khan's belief that architecture is not simply about buildings, but about the quality of life of those that live in the built environment.
Governor General David Johnston presented the medal in a ceremony at Rideau Hall on February 1. Diarmuid Nash and Ted Teshima of Moriyama & Teshima accepted the award.
The Delegation – the only Ottawa laureate -- hosted a reception and special tours for guests who then continued on to the medal ceremony.
A secular facility, the Delegation offers a centre for building relationships, enabling quiet diplomacy, and disseminating knowledge and information, while reflecting the wide-ranging humanistic and humanitarian agenda of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The building is home to Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC) and is the temporary headquarters of the Global Centre for Pluralism.
“It is our prayer that the establishment of the Delegation will provide a strongly-anchored, ever-expanding opportunity for rich collaboration – in the devoted service of ancient values, in the intelligent recognition of new realities, and in a common commitment to our shared dreams of a better world,” said His Highness the Aga Khan at the opening of the building in 2009.
In awarding the medal to the Delegation building, the jury made particular note of the atrium, domed by a striking crystalized-glass ceiling, and the interior courtyard, inspired by traditional Islamic-Persian walled gardens.
“This is a significant addition to Ottawa’s repertoire of diplomatic buildings and puts Canadian architecture firmly on the world stage. Impressively monumental in scale, the project combines a powerful civic presence with a remarkable level of sophistication,” the five-member jury wrote.
The award-winning architecture firms, Maki and Associates and Moriyama & Teshima, have also been commissioned to design the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.
AKFC runs regularly-scheduled tours of the Delegation. More information can be found here.
For more information about the Governor General’s Medal in Architecture, click here .