Foster + Partners has revealed their design for a library and cultural center alongside the Scroll, which is a new piece of public art by Gerry Judah. The new project is called the House of Wisdom and is sited on the Sharjah International Airport Road, ten kilometres from the center of the city. Sharjah was named this year’s UNESCO World Book Capital and the project aims to be a new cultural quarter there.
The new building has two stories. The ground floor will contain large exhibition spaces, a cafe, a children’s educational space, the archive and the reading area.
Aluminium screens are created to filter the low sun in the evenings. A 15-meter-wide overhang shades the facades throughout most of the day.
The landscape is devided into two parts – a knowledge garden and children’s playground to the south, which also has alongside a formal, geometrically arranged garden to the north containing the Scroll by Judah – a contemporary interpretation of the ancient Arabic scrolls as a single, spiralling sculpture that loops towards the sky.
According to Gerard Evenden, Head of Studio Foster + Partners, the House of Wisdom conceptualises the library as a social hub for learning, supported by innovation and technology.
He also says “Gerry’s sculpture is a perfect complement to the minimalist geometry of our building. We look forward to the building’s completion, which will give the local communities and scholars a new space for shared learning and innovative research, set within a beautiful landscape.”
The Sculpture of Gerry Judah and Foster + Partners are both being developed by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq).