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Snow will add emphasis to the geometric structure of the Aga Khan Garden's chahar-bagh central courtyard. NBWLA

Thomas Woltz of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects visited Islamic gardens in Egypt and India and saw how they were valued beyond their aesthetics — functioning as catalysts for economic, social and cultural change. How, he wondered, might an Islamic garden for the 21st century embrace Edmonton’s northern landscape year-round, while making a similarly positive impact?

A view of the courtyard of the mosque of al-Azhar in Cairo. Bernard O'Kane

Leading historian of Islamic art and culture, Professor Bernard O’Kane offers a peek at the architectural accomplishments of the Fatimids in Egypt. On 21 February, he will speak on the same topic at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.

Al Jahili Fort, a World Heritage Site in Al Ain, is the site of the presentation ceremony of the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Amina Dhrolia

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was presented by Mawlana Hazar Imam at the Al Jahili fort in Al-Ain, UAE on Sunday, 6 November 2016.

Mawlana Hazar Imam and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum with the winners of the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Gary Otte

Al Ain, UAE, 6 November 2016 — Architecture does not merely give form to the spaces in which we live and move, it profoundly shapes and can improve the quality of human life. The winning projects in the 13th cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture testify to this.

Students learn about the Aga Khan Award for Architecture during a visit to the Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain. Fatima Kamran

Anticipation has been growing in the United Arab Emirates since the announcement in October that the country will host the presentation ceremony of the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Over the past few weeks, members of the Jamat have been learning about the Award, discussing the winning projects and visiting an exhibition at the site of the forthcoming award ceremony.