Designing the centrepiece in the cultural heart of the Arab world

by Ofentse Sefolo
Designing the centrepiece in the cultural heart of the Arab world

Lifestyle property development company ARADA has appointed Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) to design an iconic observation tower as the centrepiece of Aljada, the developer’s renowned masterplan in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. ZHA was appointed following an international competition and the centrepiece will be surrounded by vibrant public squares with water features irrigated by recycled water.

Throughout the masterplan, environmental considerations and minimising the consumption of resources were top priorities. The AED24-billion mixed-use development is in what is regarded as the cultural capital of the Arab world. It is envisioned that this central hub will become a major destination for both tourists and residents.

The proposal for the centrepiece conceptualises the moment a water droplet strikes the earth’s surface. It will be surrounded by buildings that have been designed to channel prevailing winds into courtyards and public spaces for cooling during the hot summer months.

ZHA’s design approach secured them the winning spot in the competition, says HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of ARADA.

“Zaha Hadid Architects is globally renowned for forward-thinking and transformational urban design. While all of the companies in this design competition offered outstanding designs, Zaha Hadid Architects’ integrated design approach matched our vision for Aljada’s Central Hub as an interconnected destination. This approach is synonymous with ARADA’s mission to develop rewarding and engaging communities, building the Sharjah of tomorrow,” said the Chairman.

The first phase of the Central Hub will create a lively, family-friendly destination with a series of attractions and activities for residents of Sharjah to enjoy throughout the year; including an adventure activity zone, a food market showcasing home-grown delicacies, and outdoor events spaces.

“Zaha Hadid Architects is proud to partner with ARADA on a project designed for Sharjah’s community and its visitors. Applying all our knowledge and experience in creating some of the world’s most popular civic spaces, we look forward to working closely with ARADA to foster Sharjah’s public realm in delivering Aljada’s Central Hub,” commented Tariq Khayyat, Head of Region – Middle East, Zaha Hadid Architects.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.zaha-hadid.com for the information contained in this article.

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