Archnet is the most comprehensive digital archive of resources on architecture, urban design and development, and related issues of concern to the Muslim world. At the heart of Archnet is a free and open online architectural library – the world’s largest with a focus on the Muslim world – which is available to members without cost.
It seeks to enable participants to learn how to enhance the quality of the built environment in their communities; to compensate for a lack of resources at their academic institutions; to honour the rich legacy of their cultures; and to celebrate the humanistic traditions of Islam. The library draws on the extensive resources of AKPIA at Harvard University and MIT, as well as the collections at the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Selected materials, reproduced digitally on Archnet, provide valuable resources and teaching tools for students, educators and professionals, especially those with limited access to architectural publications and research. Participants from around the world continually add to the bank of on-line resources. Archnet collaborates with architectural schools to provide institutional workspaces that allow for the sharing of locally based resources and knowledge, including studio work research and publications, across borders and cultures. The activities of the Trust have generated a series of rich collections which scholars, researchers and students are able to draw upon. The importance all programmes place on detailed documentation has created a knowledge base for those interested in the history of Islamic architecture and art, contemporary architecture in the Muslim world, or in learning from exemplary cases of historic preservation. The AKTC Library also holds the archives of the French architect planner Michel Ecochard, a copy of the archives of Hassan Fathy and a range of country surveys, while the collections of many scholars and institutions are now showcased in digital format on Archnet. All the programmes of the Trust disseminate information about their work through a variety of publications, a listing of which can be found at www.akdn.org. A series of CDs and DVDs, which draw on the documentary resources of the Trust and tailor information to specific educational and informational needs are also regularly produced and distributed.