Iranian-born British architect Farshid Moussavi will design the first Ismaili center in the United States, beating out a competition shortlist of well-known architects that included London-based David Chipperfield, Hon. FAIA, founder of David Chipperfield Architects; Jeanne Gang, FAIA, founder of Chicago-based Studio Gang; and Rem Koolhaas, Hon. FAIA, founder of international architecture firm OMA.
The new community center will be located on an 11-acre lot west of downtown Houston, and is envisioned to be "a national hub for social, cultural, and intellectual activities of the Ismaili Muslim Community," according to a press release from DLR Group|Westlake Reed Leskosky, which will collaborate with Moussavi as the executive architect and architect of record. Other members of the design team include Charlottesville, Va.–based Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects and London-based structural engineering firm AKT II.
“Our team brings a broad perspective for the Ismaili Center, with diverse skills and experience in international practice, scholarly research, multidisciplinary thinking, and delivering cultural projects successfully in the United States,” Moussavi said in a press release. “I am honored to partner with the Ismaili Muslim community to design the new Ismaili Center in Houston. It will bring Houston’s diverse communities together in a unique space for cultural, educational, and social activities.”
A co-founder of former London-based architecture practice Foreign Office Architects, Moussavi launched her eponymous architecture firm in 2011. She is behind the design of many iconic projects around the world, including the Yokohama International Cruise Terminal and the Spanish Pavilion at the Aichi International Expo in Japan; the Meydan Retail Complex in Istanbul; the South-East Coastal Park in Barcelona; the Municipal Theater and Auditorium in Torrevieja, Spain; and the Carabanchel Social Housing in Madrid. Her first commission in the U.S. was the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, which she completed in 2012. Moussavi is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, University College London, and University of Dundee.