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September 6 1979 Your Excellencies, My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am particularly happy to welcome our distinguished guests this morning and to thank them for their presence on this occasion which is one of special significance to members of my community.
AFP PHOTO/MICHAL CIZEK (Photo credit should read MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images) 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 two projects are among five, totalling half a million square feet, now being commissioned by the Network at King’s Cross.
In spite of his sometimes turbulent private life he remains revered for the worldwide charitable works he has directed funds to.
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.
In this connection I should like particularly to thank the Greater London Council for all their care and patience in helping us to acquire this site.
I am also grateful to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 and the local amenity groups for making it possible to construct a building here which, by its nature and location, must seek to bridge the cultures of East and West.
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The Ismailis are grateful to the British people for their understanding, especially at the time when so many of them arrived as refugees after their expulsion by ex-President Amin from Uganda not so long ago.