Such is the vision of the "Better World" that Islamic civilization created from the eighth century onward. These intrepid empire-builders managed to create great palace-garden complexes, where water is the central element.
Two buildings that represent a great contrast and diversity in Islamic architecture are the Taj Mahal in India, one of the most memorable buildings in human history, and the Great Mosque of Djenne in Mali, the largest mud construction in the world.
With mosques functioning as the local centers of Islamic faith and the object of renewed Western suspicion, it is undeniable that mosques also help keep alive the memory of the divide of civilizations that once rent the world irreparably in two.
El-Wakil is considered one of the most prominent proponents of contemporary Islamic architecture, making him a stimulating choice for the Driehaus Prize, which has thus far gone only to Western architects.