For Indian architect Raj Rewal, himself from a non-Muslim tradition, the diversity of architecture across the Muslim world and the building traditions of the Iberian Peninsula contributed to his understanding of composing space. The design brief called for a centre which would draw upon traditional design approaches from Muslim civilizations yet avoid transplanting any idiom particular to a specific locale in its entirety. Significant emphasis was placed upon technological innovation and on construction that would be appropriate to the area. The architects’ response was influenced by the morphology of traditional spatial arrangements, by the notion of Islamic gardens and by the patterns in architecture that have served different Muslim societies.
The objective was the creation of a complex of spaces and buildings whose cultural and social dimensions would complement each other as well as functional, educational facilities and institutional offices, whilst also providing reflective space for the Ismaili community’s own use. A geometric fusion of gardens and courtyards as well as buildings embodying in hewn stone surfaces, polished tile and delicately balanced cupolas, an unusual multi-cultural and multi-functional complex, constitutes the architectural concept of the Ismaili Centre.