The relevance & impact of Cairo’s Al-Azhar Park in sustainable development featured at Paris’ Institute du Monde Arabe exhibit on Gardens of the East – Alhambra to Taj Mahal

“Jardins d’Orient” (Gardens of the East) exposition, an extraordinary story of Oriental Gardens, is on display at the Institut du Monde Arabe (Arab World Institute) from April 19 to September 25, 2016 in Paris, France.

Discover the genesis of the the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Al-Azhar Park in Cairo, the Alhambra in Granada and the Test Garden in Algiers and the difference the gardens continue to make in their communities.

Learn about the the princely gardens and gardens for all, as well insights to an exciting journey where water – the essence of life, weaves as a common thread in the life of gardens.

Inside the building of the Institut du Monde Arabe, the exhibition traces the history of Eastern gardens from ancient times to the most contemporary innovations, spanning geographies from the Iberian peninsula to the Indian subcontinent .

A rich collection of some 300 works of art loaned by major international museums and private collections, as well as scale models, giant photo prints and ingenious devices recall the stories of the gardens that preoccupied the talent of the engineers of the past.

The exposition ventures into culture, history, art, botany, environment, society and more.

The art of gardens, private and public, will be addressed in all its aspects: the exhibition will analyze the inspiration of the oriental garden, its codes and its variations before searching the links forged over the centuries with the gardens of the West.

Also planned are debates and discussion on the role that nature can play in contemporary cities to meet the challenges of modernity and environmental sustainability.

Did You Know? …

  • Did you know that the tulip, well before becoming an emblem of the Netherlands, was the emblem of Ottoman Sultans?
  • The public park is a recent innovation in the East? And it is now at the forefront of sustainable development projects in the Arab world megacities?
  • Did you know that in one of the ancient languages of Persia, the word garden pairi-daezameans paradise?

Discover, Explore and Learn more via Institute du Monde Arabe | Jardins d’Orient: De l’Alhambra au Taj Mahal => Gardens of the East:  Alhambra to Taj Mahal

About Institut du Monde Arabe

In 1980 the Institut du Monde Arabe (Arab World Institute), was founded in Paris by 18 Arab countries in partnership with France, later on joined by Libya in 1984.

The institute was created to research and disseminate information about the Arab world and its cultural and spiritual values. The Institute also promotes cooperation and exchanges between France and the Arab nations, particularly in the areas of science and technology, contributing to an increasing mutual understanding between the Arab world and Europe.

Institut du Monde Arabe

Institut du Monde Arabe – 1989 Winner of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA)

The Institut du Monde Arabe was designed by a world renowned and award (Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) (1989), the Wolf Prize in Arts (2005) and the Pritzker Prize (2008)) winning French architect Jean Nouvel. Currently, Nouvel’s designed Doha Towers (Qatar) is shortlisted for the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

The Institut du Monde Arabe, a center of Arab culture occupies a beautiful site on the left bank of the Seine, facing the Ile St-Louis from the riverside edge of the University of Paris. The building consists of a museum, a library, an auditorium, offices and meeting rooms assembled within two wings separated by a courtyard opening out toward the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.

The translucent marble façade of the seven-storey northern wing is elegantly curved to follow the sweep of the quay. At the west end of this wing is the 100’000 volume library, a spiral tower of books behind a transparent wall of glass offering panoramic views. The principal façade of the eleven-storey southern wing consists of 113 photosensitive panels that operate like a camera’s diaphragm opening and closing to control the intensity of light in the interior.

The jury, while acknowledging that the building is “not successful in all aspects of its design and at times overly complex to use with ease and comfort,” found much to commend in its role as “a successful bridge between French and Arab cultures.”

Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) | Archnet | Institut du Monde Arabe

Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali

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