The site of the Ismaili Centre Dushanbe is located on Ismoili Somoni Avenue, named after the founder of the Samanid dynasty (early 10th century) and considered Tajikistan’s national hero.
The direction was to design a building that represented the great architectural traditions of this region, including its construction techniques, materials, and decorative motif. It is in this context that clay bricks, punctuated with blue and turquoise glazed bricks, have become the most distinctive visual aspect of the overall complex.
Inspired by some of the region’s most distinctive monuments, the architecture of the Ismaili Centre blends many different craft and artisanal traditions of Central Asia. Designed to facilitate cultural and intellectual exchange, the Centre aims to re-invigorate and promote the spirit of enquiry characterised by scholars whose contributions over the centuries were encouraged by the Ismaili Muslim community under the patronage of its leadership.
Located amidst gardens and waterfalls off a main thoroughfare in Dushanbe, the Centre in sandstone baked brick and glazed blue and turquoise tiles, acknowledges the vernaculars of the 10th century mausoleum of the Samanids as well as the grand courtyards of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. Equipped to host exhibitions and conferences, concerts and recitals, the complex includes a resource centre, classrooms, multi-purpose spaces, courtyards and an amphitheatre. Technical innovations include an elastic roof diaphragm to transfer structural stress in this highly seismic region, a heating and air conditioning system based on water-source heat pumps used for the first time on this scale in the region, as well as a heat recovery wheel for energy efficiency.
Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture