Contents of the ‘Silver Jubilee Boxed Set of Speeches’ category in chronological order.

First Aga Khan Award for Architecture Prize Ceremony (Shalimar Gardens, Lahore, Pakistan)

We may well ask whether the premiated projects truly represent the great traditions of Islamic architecture. There are no mosques among them, no madrasah, no palace, no garden, no mausoleum, none of the monuments which are visited by millions of tourists, cherished by those who live near them, and utilised by historians to define the Muslim past. The paradox, however, is more apparent than real.

For, great though the celebrated monuments of the past are as works of art, they were only part of the built environment of the past. They were the creations of great and wealthy patrons, often made no doubt for the use and the pleasure of the masses but rarely lacking in personal or dynastic vanity. All too frequently the settings developed by the masses themselves have been lost or changed out of recognition.

In the contemporary world, the Awards have recognised that other part, perhaps now much more important than in the past, the part of the common man creating for himself and his neighbours a setting for life and health, preserving and utilising what nature has created, developing ways to maintain his identity rather than accepting the elephantine massiveness of so much of today’s world.

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Address to the Asia Society, ‘The Physical Structure of Islam’, ‘Islamic Architecture: A Revival’ (New York, USA)

I told our [hospital] architect … that his idiom should reflect the spirit of Islam. How was this to be done? I did not want him to succumb, through nostalgia, to mimicry of the past, adding minarets and domes to his renderings — the sort of bogus orientalism that has produced Alhambra hotels and Taj Mahal bars around the world. Surely, we, as Muslims, must do better than that….

Should we allow future generations of Muslims to live without the self-respect of our own cultural and spiritual symbols of power, to practise their faith without also being reminded of that sense of scale in relation to the universe around us which is so particularly ours?

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