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Hidden Sanctuary

The Aga Khan Garden, Alberta, inspired by Mughal Islamic tradition, is the northernmost of its kind in the world. It’s an extraordinary place to connect with each other and nature.

Parkland County, AB

An incredible gift

The Aga Khan Garden, Alberta was a generous gift to the University of Alberta from His Highness the Aga Khan, Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network and spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslim community. His Highness has supported beautiful gardens and parks as tools for social and economic benefit around the world including in Cairo, Kabul and Delhi. The Aga Khan Garden - Alberta is first in Western Canada and the 11th in the world to be built by His Highness.

Design team

World renowned Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects (NBW) was asked by the Aga Khan to design the garden. NBW studied other Mughal Islamic gardens around the world and developed a design that incorporates the plants, topography, and climate of Northern Alberta. NBW undertook immersive research into the study of traditional Islamic gardens and patternmaking, which is evident in the intricate patterns and geometry found in the design. DIALOG was asked by NBW to bring these landscape architectural designs to life, and DIALOG proudly provided structural, mechanical and electrical engineering, architecture, and contract administration services.

Journey through the Garden

The Garden is specific to its Alberta home, highlighting the existing Calla Pond and forested surroundings at University of Alberta Botanic Garden. Secluded forest paths lead visitors through a journey that includes contemplative rest areas, reflection ponds, geometric water features and wide stepped terraces. Opportunities for education and research are included in the design, as well as an amphitheatre tucked in a natural curved opening in the forest.

A place for connecting

This awe-inspiring garden is a place for people of all ages, spiritualities and backgrounds to connect with each other and nature. It is difficult to capture the experience of walking through the garden in photographs—the attention to detail, the aromas of the plantings, the serenity of the forest, and Alberta’s big sky all add to the beauty of this Moghul inspired garden.

Project facts

Services: Structural engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, architecture, landscape architecture support
Collaborators: Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, ISL Engineering
Builder: Clark Builders
Size: 4.8 hectares
Cost: $25 million