The Aamir Kanji Gardens may be small in its scale but in its effects is nothing less than surreal. Formally inaugurated on December 19, 2013 by His Highness the Aga Khan, the Aamir Kanji Gardens sees approximately 20,000 visitors and has garnered a reputation for its unique landscaping, on campus and in the city of Karachi.
Enclosed within the Ambulatory Care Zone – comprising the Jenabai Hussainali Shariff, Ibn Zuhr and Nazerali Walji Buildings – and the Service Building, the Gardens serves both as a pedestrian walkway and drop-off point to the buildings in the southern zone of the campus. The concept of the Garden was to provide a space where patients, attendants and visitors can sit and relax — as open green spaces can exert positive psychological effects in hospital care.
Previously a plain strip of tarmacked road, the space’s transformation into a serene landscape has been led by the Lebanon-based Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture group. Mr Djurovic has had an extensive association with the Aga Khan Development Network and is currently working on the Aga Khan Museum in Canada. More notably, he was the 2007 recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the Samir Kassir Square in Beirut, Lebanon.
The design of the Gardens is a contemporary - adaptation of traditional Islamic landscaping with over 100 different species of plants. A 125-year-old silk floss tree - is the highlight of the Gardens. To add to the tranquillity, two ponds lined with pebbles have been placed centrally. Meanwhile, the flooring is entirely in granite to withstand wear and tear, with spotlights providing soft accenting. Long marble ledges throughout the gardens canprovide seating for up to 284 visitors and patients.
To provide continuity in the overall look of the campus, the walls along the Gardens are plastered with weeping plaster and the seating is made of red marble from the north-west of Pakistan.
The total cost of the project - is $3.4 million, of which $2.5 million was a generous donation from the Kanji family.