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House of Wisdom opens in Sharjah

This article was first published by Experience UK.

A new innovative arts and cultural destination has been unveiled in the UAE.

The House of Wisdom, an iconic library and cultural centre, has launched in Sharjah.

The ground-breaking space aims to be a revolutionary concept of what a library should be like in the 21st century – with emerging digital technologies for innovation and learning at its core.

World leading architects Foster + Partners were engaged to lead on the design of the bespoke two-storey building. Too ooze with lightness, a large floating roof with a transparent rectilinear is a breath-taking focal point for guests.

The roof features a 15-metre overhang which offers shade from the burning sunlight throughout most of the day. Fixed aluminium screens have also been installed, which can filter the sun flow throughout the evenings – providing guests with a bright and tranquil environment throughout all visiting hours.

The double-height reception hall shares space with a central courtyard, which gushes with light and greenery.

The ground floor features many large spaces for touring exhibitions, F&B options and a children’s educational area. There’s also a world-class archive and reading zone, which includes innovative features including the Espresso Book Machine which spectacularly prints and binds books on demand.

Upstairs includes a series of pod spaces which are suspended above the central courtyard – where guests can enjoy a mix of quiet and collaborative learning spaces. The upper floor also features more spaces for exhibitions, along with reading lounges and an exclusive prayer area.

The exterior of The House of Wisdom also encapsulates the calming environment. The outdoor areas features a knowledge garden and a children’s playground.

The Scroll is expected to be regarded as the exterior’s centrepiece. The Scroll was designed by acclaimed British Sculptor Gerry Judah, as a contemporary interpretation of the legendary Ancient Arabic scrolls. The magnificent sculpture features a series of spirals which loop towards the breath-taking Arabian sky.

As the House of Wisdom launches, Gerard Evenden, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners said: “The straight, minimalist lines of the building complement the dunes of the desert, set within a lush landscape.

“The House of Wisdom is set to be an oasis for the local community, led by research and innovation, at the heart of a new cultural district.”

ICOM UK