The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT (AKPIA@MIT) is a graduate academic program dedicated to the study of architecture, urbanism, architectural history, Landscape, and conservation in the Islamic World. The program offers a concentration in Islamic architecture and urbanism as part of the two-year Master of Science in Architectural Studies (SMArchS) degree and the Ph.D. Program in the History, Theory and Criticism (HTC) section in the Department of Architecture. The program also sponsors various outreach activities: a lecture series, a travel grant program, and a post-doctoral program. AKPIA@MIT regularly organizes conferences and pursues collaborative projects across MIT, with its sisters programs at Harvard University, and with academic and research institutions around the world. Established in 1979 through a generous endowment of His Highness the Aga Khan, AKPIA@MIT is recognized today as a world leader in in the fields of Islamic architecture and urbanism.
The aim of the program is to concentrate its teaching and research activities in the following directions:
- To enhance the understanding of Islamic architecture and urbanism in light of critical, theoretical and developmental issues.
- To support research at the forefront of the field in areas of history, theory and criticism of architecture and urbanism.
- To explore approaches to architecture that respond critically and thoughtfully to contemporary conditions, aspirations, and beliefs in the Islamic world.
- To provide an extensive base of information about architecture in the Islamic world and to share it with scholars, teachers, and practitioners from everywhere.
Along with the focus on improving the teaching of Islamic art and architecture and setting excellence as the standard in professional research, AKPIA also continually strives to promote the visibility of pan-Islamic cultural heritage.