Based at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) is dedicated to the study of Islamic art and architecture, urbanism, landscape design, and conservation - and the application of that knowledge to contemporary design projects.
The goals of the program are to improve the teaching of Islamic art and architecture - to promote excellence in advanced research - to enhance the understanding of Islamic architecture, urbanism, and visual culture in light of contemporary theoretical, historical, critical, and developmental issues - and to increase the visibility of Islamic cultural heritage in the modern Muslim world. Established in 1979, AKPIA is supported by an endowment from His Highness the Aga Khan. AKPIA's faculty, students, and alumni have played a substantial role in advancing the practice, analysis, and understanding of Islamic architecture as a discipline and cultural force.
The Aga Khan Documentation Center in the MIT Libaries (AKDC@MIT) is affiliated with AKPIA, and supports the program through collections acquisition and management, and research assistance.
Jarrar, Sabri, András Riedlmayer, and Jeffrey B. Spurr. "Resources for the Study of Islamic Architecture." Cambridge, MA: Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, 1994.
Resources for the Study of Islamic Architecture (RSIA) was
compiled in 1994 by staff of the Aga Khan Programs at Harvard and MIT as a
reference document for educators and scholars of Islamic architecture. The 414-page document is divided
into two sections: a Bibliographic Component and a Visual Component.
The Bibliographic Component lists “basic reference
tools for the history of Islamic art and architecture,” including general
bibliographies, periodical indexes, reference sources, surveys, dictionaries, glossaries, and handbooks, arranged by a series of topical categories and
then by a separate geographical classification.
The Visual Component aims to “identify monuments throughout
the full extent of the Islamic world that exemplify what is famous, important
or representative of its architectural history up to the late nineteenth
century.” A list of 2,072 major buildings significant for a general
understanding of Islamic architecture was complied, and a “core list” of 777
monuments was designated from that larger list. RSIA identifies
sources of slides and photographs held by MIT and Harvard for each of those 777
monuments, along with published references and visual sources.
This document no longer represents current research in the
field, but still serves as a valuable tool for researchers and educators when
used in consultation with more current sources.