Aga Khan 'in King's Cross talks' - People looking for property to rent in London may be interested in the possibility of a new educational facility at a multi-use development opening in Central London.
According to Property Week, the Aga Khan, the hereditary leader of the largest group of Ismaili followers of the Shia faith, is in talks with King's Cross Central is finalising details for opening an Ismaili studies and cultural affairs centre at one of its premises.
A spokesperson for the project stated that it is discussing potential deals with a number of high-profile clients, but refused to be drawn on any confirmed agreements including for this educational facility.
King's Cross Central involved a regeneration of a 67-acre brownfield site near the London rail interchange and St Pancras, which is the destination for travellers heading to Paris and Brussels via Eurostar.
News of an educational centre possibly being included in a mixed-use development in the centre of the capital may encourage more people to consider looking for property to rent in the London borough of Camden or nearby areas.
The Aga Khan IV is in advanced talks to create a centre for Ismaili studies and cultural affairs at London's £4bn King's Cross scheme.
It is thought that the Aga Khan Foundation and King’s Cross Central — the joint venture between Argent, London & Continental Railways and landowner DHL-Exel - are finalising details of an agreement to develop the proposed centre at the 67 acre site.
Property Week understands that plans to build student accommodation for students attending the centre have already been agreed. The final details of the centre which will have a museum-type element are yet to be concluded between the Aga Khan, who is thought to be advised by BNP Paribas Real Estate, and King’s Cross Central.
Aga Khan is the hereditary title of the Imam of the largest branch of the Ismailis followers of the Shi‘a faith. The Aga Khan is responsible for the interpretation of the faith for his followers and as part of the office of the Imamate aims to improve the quality of their lives and the communities in which they live.
The current Aga Khan IV is Prince Karim Al Hussein [pictured] who was born in 1936 and is the 49th Imam of the Shia Imami Ismailis. He succeeded his grandfather Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan on 11 July 1957.
If the plans go ahead it will be a high profile occupier at the major regeneration scheme. King's Cross Central is already in talks with a range of other occupiers including Sainsbury's and Ogilvy & Mather.
It will also be an important step for the Aga Khan Foundation which has already established one centre in London - The Institute of Ismaili Studies in South Kensington - which was developed 25 years ago. The building at Cromwell Gardens in South Kensington was the first high profile Ismaili Centre to be designed and built in the West.
A spokesperson from King's Cross Central said: "We are talking to a number of very exciting organisations, large and small, about a move to King's Cross Central. We are not in a position to announce any new deals yet but it's fair to say that a number of our discussions are at a very advanced stage. Potential occupiers are excited about the offer at King's Cross."
The Aga Khan hopes to build an Islamic cultural 'hub' in London.
By Richard Eden
Published: 10:54PM BST 29 May 2010
The Aga Khan suffered a humiliating defeat in 2002 when his plans to build a museum of Islamic art on one of London's most desirable sites were thrown out, even though his £24 million bid was twice the size of any other.
Mandrake hears that now, however, he is in talks to develop a major Islamic learning and cultural "hub" at the £2 billion King's Cross Central Partnership development in north London.
His foundation has opened negotiations for a large facility on the 67-acre site, and may occupy as many as five buildings. They are mainly for students and educational facilities, but a museum of some kind has not been ruled out. "We are talking to a number of exciting partners," says a spokesman for the partnership.
In 2002, doctors at St Thomas's and King's College medical school threatened to resign en masse if the Aga Khan was allowed to buy the land that they owned opposite the Palace of Westminster.
Last edited by Admin on Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:51 pm, edited 1 time in total
AN Islamic centre bankrolled by one of the world’s richest men has become the latest potential tenant to show interest in taking up some of the empty space at the King’s Cross Railway Lands development.
The Aga Khan, the hereditary leader of a branch of Muslim worshippers, funds a university and cultural centre based on the Euston Road.
Known for being a world leader in racehorse breeding, his Aga Khan Foundation group are locked in talks with the owners of the 67-acre site. Developers King’s Cross Central Partnership have recently been accused of offering space to anyone who could stump up the cash – and not on their worth to the area as a whole.
A source said discussions are ongoing, but just last week the Diocese of London confirmed they had looked at building a Christian mission centre but got cold feet because of costs rising to £40million.
Critics claim the final make-up of the site could be a hotch-potch of businesses able to pay the required cash, not a holistically planned and carefully thought out new town for the borough.
Co-chairman of the King’s Cross Railway Lands group, Michael Edwards, said the latest news demonstrates that Camden Council made a serious error handing the developers planning permission for the entire site, and allowing them to fill the gaps in later.
He said: “We campaigned for a much more community-based plan than what we have got.
“They should not have given permission for the whole site at once. We said economic conditions and social needs may change and that they should have allowed permission for phase one and then they could have had space to reconsider. We’d be in a much better position. Instead they have given that power away.”
Mr Edwards said that as the developers have not got the commercial interest they want, they are simply chasing the biggest payers who could build there.
A spokesman for the King’s Cross Central Partnership said that planning laws mean the Railway Lands group’s fears are unfounded as all applications are still required to go through the usual planning routes.
The spokesman added: “We are talking to a number of very exciting organisations, large and small, about a move to King’s Cross Central. We are not in a position to announce any new deals yet but it’s fair to say that a number of our discussions are at a very advanced stage.”
A spokesman for the Aga Khan’s foundation said: “The Aga Khan Foundation, The Aga Khan University and The Institute of Ismaili Studies have significant existing operations in London, which are currently located at short leasehold premises in one building in the Borough of Camden.
“There is an ongoing exercise to develop a long-term premises strategy for these existing academic, international development and cultural activities and their future growth. In this context we have had discussions with the developers of King’s Cross Central, which have not yet been concluded.”
The Aga Khan has signed an agreement to build a cultural and education centre at King’s Cross, almost a decade after the spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims had to abandon plans for an Islamic art museum at another site.
The Aga Khan Development Network, the charitable agency founded by Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, has finalised terms with owners of King’s Cross Central to buy land for an 8m sq ft development behind King’s Cross station. King’s Cross Central is one of Europe’s biggest redevelopment projects.
The Aga Khan is the Imam, or spiritual leader, of Ismailis, who constitute one of the main branches of Shia Islam. Prince Karim Al Hussein, the 49th Iman, succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, in 1957 at the age of 20.
The new complex will not include a mosque, according to one person familiar with the agreement.
Under the deal signed at the beginning of the month, the first phase will include a new university building and student accommodation, as well as premises for the Institute of Ismaili Studies and the Aga Khan Foundation.
There will also be homes, offices and additional space for exhibitions and concerts in future phases, which will showcase the group’s history and culture.
The project was supported by the previous Labour government. Plans to build a museum of Islamic art on land owned by St Thomas’s Hospital and King’s College in south London collapsed almost a decade ago.
In a statement, the Aga Khan Development Network confirmed it had entered into a series of agreements to develop a number of buildings over the coming years with the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership.
“The agreements provide for the Aga Khan Development Network and King’s Cross Central to work closely together in the design and construction of each building, which will include educational, office, cultural, retail and residential uses.
“This will initially lead to the relocation of the existing activities of the Aga Khan University, the Institute of Ismaili Studies and the Aga Khan Foundation from their leased premises on nearby Euston Road and the relocation of related student accommodation.”
The Aga Khan Development Network will work with the owners of the King’s Cross Central, which include developer Argent, on the detailed designs for the buildings. The plans for a cultural centre are at an early stage, and no architects have been appointed.
There are plans for more than 8m sq ft of buildings on the 67-acre London development, including offices, shops, homes and other university buildings. The Aga Khan’s plans account for about 6 per cent of the total space in the scheme.
Jul 31, 2011
The Aga Khan speaks to students and educators interested in international baccalaureate programmes in 2008.
LONDON //Amid a noisy debate about the merits of multiculturalism, particularly the position of Muslims, leaders of the 14,000-strong Ismaili community in Britain are quietly planning their expansion across central London.
Already proud possessors of an architecturally-iconic religious and social meeting place in South Kensington, the community led by the Aga Khan this month signed an agreement to build a cultural and education centre behind King's Cross train station at one of Europe's biggest redevelopment projects.
The Aga Khan, Prince Karim Al Hussein, is the spiritual leader of Ismailis, who constitute one of the main offshoots of Shia Islam.
Completion of the new centre will take several years and its approval stands in contrast to almost a decade ago, when the Aga Khan had to abandon plans for an Islamic art museum at another site because of opposition by officials who favoured the expansion of public health facilities.
"We've always lived comfortably side-by-side with others in British society," Amin Mawji, president of the UK's Ismaili Council, said in an interview at the South Kensington centre. "I wouldn't say we're particularly close to the British establishment. But we add to the pluralistic tradition of British society."
The community has been lauded in Britain for its charity and professionalism. Mr Mawji, like other Ismaili leaders, is a volunteer as well as a partner at the accountancy firm Ernst & Young.
Ismailis liked to characterise their voluntary work as simply part of their faith, not "philanthropy" which, in the West, often implied an extra rather than central activity, said Salma Lalani, who is te group's communications co-ordinator in addition to her full-time job as a criminal barrister.
The main focus of Ismaili expansion was within international development, said Mr Mawji. He pointed to last week's opening in Nairobi of a new heart and cancer centre, the Aga Khan University Hospital. School and health care facilities are opening all over Africa, Central Asia as well as in more traditional Ismaili strongholds in the subcontinent and Asia, he said.
In Britain, he viewed the faltering economy as one of the main challenges facing Ismailis along with the rest of society. "The level of public funding for public services is being reduced and the downturn is longer and deeper than in previous decades," said the London School of Economics graduate, who grew up in Mombasa. "Our community has a large proportion who are entrepreneurs so being able to navigate the economic climate is an important factor for us."
The new Kings Cross centre will include a new university building and student accommodation, offices for the Institute of Ismaili Studies and the Aga Khan Foundation, and space for exhibitions and concerts showcasing the community's history and culture.
Commentary:The Ismaili Centre of Dubai: a monument of tolerance
Last Updated:Oct 31, 2010
Nestled in one of Bur Dubai's older districts is one of the emirate's best kept architectural secrets: the Ismaili Centre of Dubai.
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi
"One of our most important values is self-help and making a contribution to society," said Shiraz Kabani, who is vice-president of the Ismaili Council as well as head of operations for finance and development at the Institute of Ismaili Studies.
The institute conducts research and offers graduate programmes in Islamic studies and humanities. Curricula in ten languages for other Ismaili institutes around the world are produced in London.
"We're not focused on doctrine but rather take a civilisational approach," said Mr Kabani. "We take an ethical approach on how to be a good Muslim."
World-renowned Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki is to design a Muslim cultural centre and university on the 67-acre King’s Cross development for the Aga Khan.
The 84-year-old Pritzker prizewinner has been appointed to draw up plans for the two buildings by the Aga Khan Development Network, an 80,000-strong organisation headed by the leader of the world’s 15 million Ismaili Muslims.
The cultural centre of more than 100,000 square feet is likely to be built on a plot to the north of, and across an open square from, the University of the Arts. A university of similar size will be built on nearby land, currently reserved for offices. The two projects are among five, totalling half a million square feet, now being commissioned by the Network at King’s Cross.
Student accommodation, shops, and offices for the Aga Khan Foundation are being planned. The architects for these three projects have yet to be announced.
“We can confirm that preliminary design studies are under way,” said a spokesman, refusing to confirm the Maki commissions. “We will be moving towards formal appointments shortly.”
Last summer, the development partnership building King’s Cross signed a deal with the 75-year-old Aga Khan, announcing: “The agreements provide for the Aga Khan Development Network and King’s Cross Central to work closely together in the design and construction of each building, which will include educational, office, cultural, retail and residential uses.
“This will initially lead to the relocation of the existing activities of the Aga Khan University, the Institute of Ismaili Studies and the Aga Khan Foundation from their leased premises on nearby Euston Road and the relocation of related student accommodation.”
Maki has designed a similar cultural centre for the Aga Khan in Toronto, which opens next year. The King’s Cross centre will be the first UK project for the Japanese architect, who has designed a 974-foot tower for the World Trade Centre “ground zero” site in New York as well as a $330 million (£206 million) expansion of the United Nations building elsewhere on Manhattan Island.
The five Aga Khan projects will be some of the last on the £4 billion development, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this month. Way back in October 1987, the British Railways Board chose four developers to prepare plans. The eventual winners were Argent, backed by Post Office pension fund manager Hermes.
A deal to develop an enormous headquarters for Google, designed by British architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, is in the last stages of a protracted birth. Thanksgiving Day (November 22) is the appropriate date set.
Amanda Levete and Duggan Morris in the running to design piece for public realm
Architects vie for new King's Cross canopy
7 December 2012 | By Andrea Klettner
Seven architects including Amanda Levete Architects and Carmody Groarke are competing to design a new canopy for a major new square at Argent’s King’s Cross development.
Asif Khan, Duggan Morris Architects, Jamie Fobert, Niall McLaughlin and Ian Ritchie Architects are also in the running. The piece of public realm will be known as Cubitt Square and Argent said it was looking at building a free-standing “canopy structure” as part of the scheme.
The square is set to play a key role in the Aga Khan’s development on the site, with the first two buildings designed by Stanton Williams and Maki & Associates.
One is a 9,000sq m Islamic cultural centre and gallery for the Aga Khan Foundation and the other is a new home for the Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations.
Work on the project is expected to start next year.
Aga Khan IV is set to gain consent from Camden council for the 95,000 sq ft first phase of a major cultural centre devoted to Muslim Ismali studies close to Google’s £650m headquarters at the King’s Cross Central scheme. CoStar News takes a look at the plans with first images.
King's Cross Central General Partner Limited and Aga Khan Foundation (UK)’s plans for the T5 building, a 198-bed student accommodation block with shops on the ground floor, has been recommended for approval by Camden council officers ahead of a committee meeting next Thursday (4 July), CoStar News has learned.
The plot currently comprises vacant land at the northern end of York Way, a semi-abandoned industrial location on the 67-acre development site that is undergoing significant change, with the largely residential buildings R4 and R5 North now occupied and T6 aiming for planned completion in summer 2013.
The T5 student accommodation block, designed by Stanton Williams, is the first of a series of projects at King’s Cross being commissioned for the use of a range of institutions affiliated with the Ismaili Imamat, most of which fall under the umbrella of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).
It comprises a 12 storey building (including ground floor), comprised of two 12 storey ‘bookend’ wings above a ground floor plinth, flanking a central eight-storey element which is set back from the street towards the north of the plot.
The building will provide 198 bedrooms spread across 8,717 sq m principally occupied by students attending the Aga Khan University - Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) and the Institute for Ismali Studies (IIS).
Both institutions are expected to eventually move from their current location on Euston Road to the KXC development as part of a wider programme of new buildings at King’s Cross by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).
The ground floor offers 247 sq m of flexible commercial use (retail/professional uses: Class A1/A2 and/or food & drink use class A3 and/or non-residential use class D1) across approximately two thirds of the Canal Reach frontage, accessed directly from the street.
Communal roof garden spaces would be provided as 1st and 8th floors (of 350 sq m and 170 sq m respectively).
T5 will adjoin the student tower at plot T6 and will be an integral part of what is being termed the wider T Zone within the masterplan.
The building would be arranged with the main pedestrian and cycle entrance facing Canal Reach to the south.
Servicing and car parking is provided at the rear of the site, accessed via the portal openings proposed here and in the approved T1 and T6 schemes.
The proposals include a small area of public realm, comprising a section of Canal Reach to the south of T5 and a section of the Zone T service road to the north of the building.
The block is the first phase of an expected major Muslim cultural centre at the site that is understood to be being worked up by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki for the Aga Khan.
Camden planning officers have recommended approval of the reserved matters application for the building ahead of a development control committee meeting next Thursday. Officers write: "Sustainable design has been at the heart of the proposal, which results in a building that positively exceeds the requirements of the outline permission. Residential occupants of the building will enjoy a high quality of amenity, both internally within their accommodation and communal spaces and outside on the roof terraces. The building, and the adjacent public realm, has also been designed to be accessible by all."
A spokesperson for the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP) said: "KCCLP confirm that they have submitted a reserved matters application to Camden Council for student housing on plot T5 at King's Cross Central. The building will provide 198 bedrooms, predominantly for use by graduate students. The Stanton Williams-designed scheme is being developed by the King's Cross Central Limited Partnership on behalf of the Aga Khan Development Network, for whom it will be the first of a planned series of buildings at the King's Cross site."
The Aga Khan Development Network, an 80,000-strong organisation, is headed by the leader of the world’s 15m Ismaili Muslims.
The application comes at a time when the redevelopment at King’s Cross Central continues to enjoy significant momentum.
After five years of construction across the 67 acre development the first premises opened in September 2011.
Google UK this week lodged plans for a £650m campus at the site meaning that over half of the total 8m sq ft at King’s Cross is now occupied or committed.
In total, the King's Cross Central Limited Partnership project is delivering over 1,900 homes, 3.4m sq ft net of offices and 500,000 sq ft of shops.
This year will see a range of new developments including the completion of One Pancras Square and Two Pancras Square – two speculative Grade A office buildings with a combined area of circa 200,000 sq ft on Pancras Square, next to King’s Cross Station.
In addition construction will start on the educational, office, cultural, retail and residential spaces for the Aga Khan Development Network.
In 2014 Camden council will move into new offices on Pancras Square and Two Pancras Square will also be completed. BNP Paribas Real Estate will also move into a new office building on Pancras Square, which they are developing.
In January 2013 King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership confirmed £250m funding from four leading banks.
As well as funding three commercial buildings (Western Transit Shed, One and Two Pancras Square) and 272 new homes (in ArtHouse and 1 Canal Reach), it will also be used for the final phases of infrastructure, both south and north of the Regent’s Canal.
This includes work on Cubitt Square, Cubitt Park, Gasholder No. 8, towpath improvements, footbridges over the canal, pavilions on Granary Square, more works on King’s Boulevard and final finishes on Battle Bridge Place.
King’s Cross is being developed by the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, which is a joint venture between London & Continental Railways Limited, DHL Supply Chain and Argent King's Cross Limited Partnership, in conjunction with Hermes Fund Managers.
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BAM tipped for £20m Aga Khan University student hall
Aaron Morby | Tue 25th March | 8:01
King’s Cross goods yard developer Argent is set to award BAM Construction the job to build a student hall block for the Aga Khan University.
The project for the Aga Khan Foundation is expected to cost around £20m and will provide 198 student rooms within a 12-storey brick clad building at the vast London development site.
The student halls are the first of four planned building jobs for the Aga Khan Development Network, which BAM is now in the box seat to take.
This could be worth up to £150m in construction work.
A deal will come as some consolation for BAM after internet giant Google stalled progress on its vast HQ building, which the contractor was widely expected to win, but had not signed off.
A source told the Enquirer: “Originally Carillion was looking hard at the job, but it now seems BAM are set to build the student accommodation block.”
The spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslins also plans a university and separate buildings for both the Institute of Ismaili Studies and the Aga Khan Foundation.
Both institutions will also eventually move from their current location on Euston Road to the King’s Cross development as part of a wider programme of new buildings for the Aga Khan Development Network.
Maki and Associates has submitted plans for their first UK building. As the Architects' Journal reports, the Japanese firm has designed a nine story, 8,780-square-meter educational space for the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) - a group of non-denominational agencies focused on improving the welfare of people in developing areas in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The predominately limestone building pulls cues from its context; its facade is derived from the space within, which in turn responds to the surrounding Kings Cross site.
"This is an elegantly detailed high quality proposal with strong sculptural expression derived from program and contextual analysis," said the Camden Council planners in a report. "The generous terraces placed at strategic locations visually connect the surroundings through to the internal atrium."
If approved, the new building will provide administrative space for the Institute of Ismaili Studies and the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations, as well as a library, classrooms, ground floor retail and restaurant space. It also hopes to achieve BREEAM Excellent rating.
Construction progress of the Aga Khan University's new King's Cross buildings - 1.) the residence, which is now complete, and 2.) the primary instructional building, to be shared upon completion with the Institute of Ismaili Studies. The instructional building is to be architect Professor Fumihiko Maki's first building in the UK
Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:37 am Post subject: Kings cross London update July 2017
This development by the Ismaili community constitutional entity AKDN will be completed in May 2018. The total reported cost about 5 years ago was $500 million.
This second community's building at Kings cross has reached the Topping off stage. A topping out** religious rite ceremony ** was held at the building. The first one was completed last year
A 'topping out' ( topping off) ceremony was held for the new Development at King's Cross in the presence of members of the King's Cross Steering Group, President and Vice-President of the Ismaili Council for the UK as well as representatives from each institution which will be utilising the building.
David Walters from Argent, the developers, reflected at the 'topping out' ceremony,
"it took real vision at that point in time to commit to King's Cross the way the AKDN have... and this has played an important role in shaping King's Cross and I am sure you will play a long standing role as we complete this building and move forward."
It is quite fitting that this is planned to be achieved during His Highness’ Diamond Jubilee year.
The 'topping out' or topping off ceremony signifies that the structure has reached its maximum height, and is often commemorated in the construction industry as part of ancient European tradition.
The UK Council and IIS say about this building that "It is envisioned that the thoughtful design of the new building and its gardens will lend itself to dialogue and learning, by enabling physical and intellectual connectivity reflecting the core values – pluralism, openness, quality and excellence – of the institutions that will take up residence there."
The building is due for completion in May 2018. Currently these communities constitutional institutions are at 210 Euston Road. London which includes IIS, AKF, AKU, LIF, Islamic Publications, DJI, and use by the community members.
Naguib Kheraj Chair of the Ismaili community's AKDN, Kings cross Steering committee, IIS Board of Governors, Chair of AKF UK and Director of Islamic Publication Ltd, said,
“We were excited about the prospect of being part of the transformation plan...How different it looks today even though it is partially complete – it is a vibrant, thriving and attractive new district of central London. We can see now the splendid form of what will be a beautiful Maki designed building with a unique set of gardens each inspired by different Muslim traditions from a range of geographic regions.”
Manager at BAM Construction said:
“Currently on site, there are on average 80 operatives working from all trades on any one day. This will now increase to 180 over the next few months. So far, 15000 work days on site have got the building to this stage.”
The ceremony was attended by Gary Kamemoto, Director of architects Maki and Associates; representatives from Argent LLP; architects from Allies & Morrison; key representatives from our contractors BAM Construction; numerous specialist consultants and contractors from Expedition, Arup, and Gardiner
From the Aga Khan community the ceremony was attended by a few of the communities representatives namely UK Council President L Hasham, Vice President, F Mawani, N Kheraj, S Sachedina & M Ahmed They each spread a shovel of sand as a part of this ceremony. A few others were present.
In buildings topping out (sometimes referred to as topping off) is a rite traditionally held when the last beam (or its equivalent) is placed atop a structure during its construction. Nowadays, the ceremony is often parlayed into a media event for public relations purposes.
The practice of "topping out" a new building can be traced to the ancient religious rite in Scandinavia of placing a tree atop a new building to appease the tree-dwelling spirits displaced in its construction. Long an important component of a timber frame migrated initially to England and Northern Europe, thence to the Americas
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Victoria Hall is a 198-room student housing tower in the rapidly rebranding London district of King’s Cross, developed by a private development agency. Designed by local firm Stanton Williams, the structure consists of two 12-story wings connected by an eight-story volume, creating a sheltered courtyard atop the complex’s ground-floor plinth.
Inspired by the adobe architecture of the Middle East, the architects wanted to create a form that looked like it had been carved out of a sinlge block. The towers are clad in brick, and their offset pattern, with the recessed blocks in a lighter color, gives the overall impression of latticework. “It has a level of refinement,” Katherine Chia said. “I think the façade with the brick pattern is great.”
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