The Islamic Gardens at King’s Cross were one of 15 across the UK capital chosen to feature in London Open Gardens’ virtual event.
A short film of the roof gardens, terraces and courtyards in the Aga Khan Centre (AKC) on a sunny day was screened as part of the 90-minute broadcast on June 12th.
Students from The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) and the Aga Khan University-Institute for The Study Of Muslim Civilisations (ISMC) were filmed chatting and relaxing in the gardens and interviewed on what they value most about them.
Salima Bhatia, Head of Communications and Development at the IIS, gave a background to the six spaces, which are inspired by different parts of the Muslim world, from southern Spain and North Africa, to South and Central Asia, and the Middle East.
Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the annual event—an exploration of London’s formal squares, historic allotments and award-winning community spaces—moved online this year. It is now available to watch on demand.
The contemporary landscaped spaces at the AKC and student residence Victoria Hall represent the diversity of Muslim cultures around the world and over time. The modestly-sized but beautiful gardens range from contemplative and secluded to open and social. With nearby Jellicoe Gardens and Lewis Cubitt Square, they form a ‘ribbon’ of green spaces in King’s Cross.
Students and staff at the AKC have missed spending time in the serene gardens during the pandemic, but a recent relaxing of lockdown restrictions has allowed some to return to the spaces.
“This is the place I enjoy the most, because it gives me a steady break when I come here,” commented GPISH student Fariah Bakhsh. “With my classmates we come here, enjoy the sunset, enjoy a chat.”
Although the gardens at the AKC are currently closed to the public owing to the pandemic, we hope to open them up for tours again as soon as it is safe to do so.