The Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe — Fact Sheet

The Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe is the first such Centre in Central Asia and is comparable with others established in London, United Kingdom (1984), Burnaby, Canada (1985), Lisbon, Portugal (1998), and Dubai, United Arab Emirates (2008). An Ismaili Centre in Toronto is currently at an advanced planning stage.

Site: 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.
Architect: Farouk Noormohamed Design Associates – Vancouver, Canada. 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.
Design Detail:

While the structure of the building is largely cast in place reinforced concrete, it is the use of 3 million facing bricks, in plain as well as patterned and glazed form that characterises its façade and interiors. Each brick passed through cutting machines to match an exact template with a tolerance of less than 1 millimeter. This level of quality control has resulted in very accurate horizontal and vertical joints. The glazed bricks play a role in creating patterns of repetition and remembrance.

Granite in various patterns characterises most of the floor space, while wooden floors made of beech, wenge and cherry woods have been used in the Social Hall and Multipurpose Room. The use of glue laminated beams has been a major addition to the local construction techniques. The carved wooden beams on the ceiling were designed by artisans from Khorog, the decorative plaster work on the walls was fashioned by craftsmen from Dushanbe and local suzanis and carpets adorning the walls, were handmade across Central Asia.

The use of a large central courtyard, acting as the fulcrum for the four major functional areas of the building (Administration, Education, Social Hall and Prayer hall), is a continuation of old and widespread Islamic and Central Asian architectures. Other features drawing upon local and Islamic heritage include the use of large portals, elevated pedestal, large articulated brick panels in the exterior walls, use of glazed decorative tiles and bricks, latticed wood and metal works, and extensive water bodies and green areas.

Contractor / Project Management: Codest International / Planning and Construction Management – A company of the AKDN.
Construction: The Foundation Ceremony took place in August 2003, and construction began in September 2005.
(Also see the construction photo gallery.)
Special Features:
  • Total number of bricks: approximately 3 million;
  • Area of corner water features: approximately 1 500 square metres;
  • Height of the ceiling: 7.5 to 16 meters;
  • In the middle of the four blocks is a central courtyard with fountains and a chahar-bagh garden;
  • Five towers: four of which are 21 metres, the fifth is 25 metres;
  • Underground parking: 120 vehicles.
Area Detail:
  • Total Plot Area: Approximately 30 000 square metres;
  • Total built up area: Approximately 16 000 square metres;
  • Building has four major areas: Administration, Education, Social Hall and Prayer Hall;
  • Administration area: Can accommodate approximately 40 staff and volunteers;
  • Education Area: Fourteen classrooms, a Knowledge Centre, a Multipurpose Hall and an Amphitheatre;
  • Social Hall can accommodate around 430 people theatre-style and 300 people banquet-style;
  • Prayer Hall can accommodate 1 500 people.