In November 2019, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner met with His Highess the Aga Khan and remarked, “The Ismaili Center will be a place where Houstonians of all backgrounds, faiths, and walks of life will find engaging, thoughtful, and compassionate programs, and people. That will be in keeping with Ismaili values and the values of the Ismaili leader, the Aga Khan.”
The Ismaili Center, Houston will join several prestigious buildings commissioned over recent decades by institutions under the guidance of His Highness, designated under the broader category of Ismaili Centers, of which there are diverse examples in Dubai, Dushanbe, Lisbon, London, Toronto and Vancouver.
These Centers have sought to create environments that encourage mutual understanding and facilitate the sharing of perspectives across peoples of diverse faiths, traditions and origins. Resonating with their respective geographies and urban contexts, these Centers have become known for conveying, in architecturally distinctive idioms, the Ismaili Muslim Community’s ethos of pluralism and its humanistic outlook, enabling tradition to converse with contemporaneity.
Blending with unusual harmony into varied urban landscapes, they affirm the integrated presence and permanence of a community whose heritage of intellectual pursuit and voluntary service continues to vitalize civil society. Quietly embedded within these Centers, alongside spaces for enriching cultural, social and educational encounters, offices and meeting rooms, are gardens and private areas for reflection, contemplation and spiritual search.