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Rodeo Drive Condos – THE AGA KHAN AND HIS MUSEUM
DON MILLS’ GREAT BENEFACTOR
When David Pontarini, the cele-brated architect of Rodeo Drive, speaks about the recently opened Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili Centre at Eg-linton Avenue and Don Mills Road, words like “strikingly beautiful,” “wonderfully elegant” and “brilliantly executed” easily fall from his lips. And his fulsome praise echoes the more or less universal hosannas the project has received from the international architectural press. Built at a cost of around $350-million, the museum and prayer centre is an extraor-dinary act of generosity by the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the world’s Ismaili Muslims. Designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning Jap-anese architect Fumihiko Maki, the museum, clad in eye-popping Brazilian white granite, has been lauded for its almost other-worldly serenity, doubtless a reflection of its spare modernist aesthetic. Across an equally stun-ning plaza, itself a contemporary interpre-tation of a traditional Mughal garden, is the renowned Indian architect Charles Correa’s Ismaili Prayer Centre, with its extraordinary glass dome, an engineering feat many still struggle to explain; it’s that ingenious and novel. This extraordinary complex, the first museum in North America devoted solely to chronicling a millennia of Muslim art and cul-ture, is a testament to the Aga Khan’s often spoken belief that Canada is the global poster child for pluralism, diversity and tolerance, and nowhere are those qualities more in evidence that in the Don Mills community, itself. That fact is the result of a very wise decision made by the Aga Khan’s great friend, the late prime minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau.
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