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Sharjah’s Architectural Marvels: Tradition Meets Modernity!

Sharjah architecture: Here are 7 unique buildings you need to visit

Discover Sharjah’s architectural gems, where tradition meets modernity in stunning designs. Explore the UAE’s hidden treasure.

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In recent years, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become synonymous with architectural innovation, thanks to iconic structures in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. However, nestled quietly in the heart of the UAE lies Sharjah, the emirate that has been subtly but profoundly shaping its architectural identity. This article unveils seven of Sharjah’s most uniquely designed buildings, each a testament to the fusion of tradition and modernity in this remarkable emirate.

Sharjah’s Architectural Gems: A Blend of Tradition and Modernity

Sharjah’s architectural landscape is a testament to its commitment to preserving tradition while embracing modernity. Let’s delve into these remarkable structures.

1. BEEAH Headquarters: A Sustainable Oasis in the Desert

Sharjah's Architectural Marvels: Tradition Meets Modernity!

Designed by the visionary Zaha Hadid, the BEEAH Headquarters is a striking 9,000-square-meter structure nestled in the Al Sajaa desert. Its design pays homage to the undulating contours of the nearby sand dunes, creating an architectural masterpiece that mirrors the natural landscape.

The BEEAH Headquarters serves as the corporate office for Beeah Group, a pioneer in environmental management. It not only stands as a symbol of sustainability but also boasts LEED Platinum standards. Powered by solar arrays, this architectural marvel is on a mission to achieve net-zero energy consumption.

Innovative Sustainability: This headquarters sets new standards in sustainability, with LEED Platinum standards and net-zero energy goals.

Architectural Resilience: Zaha Hadid’s vision lives on, showcasing the resilience of architectural brilliance even after her passing.

2. Kalba Ice Factory: From Ruin to Cultural Venue

Sharjah's Architectural Marvels: Tradition Meets Modernity!

The Kalba Ice Factory, a brutalist concrete structure from the 1970s, underwent a remarkable transformation. Acquired by Sharjah Art Foundation in 2015, it now serves as an exhibition venue, temporary residence, and a pavilion-style restaurant.

Acquired by the Sharjah Art Foundation in 2015, the factory has been retrofitted for exhibition spaces, temporary residences, a pavilion-style restaurant, and a shaded walkway. It stands as a bridge between history and art, offering visitors a unique experience.

Historical Restoration: Witness the revival of an industrial ruin into a cultural haven.

Nature’s Embrace: The factory’s proximity to Kalba Creek and Al Qurm Nature Reserve adds to its allure.

3. Khor Kalba Turtle Wildlife Sanctuary: A Harmony with Nature

Sharjah's Architectural Marvels: Tradition Meets Modernity!

The Khor Kalba Turtle Wildlife Sanctuary is a masterpiece by Hopkins Architects. It blends seamlessly with its natural surroundings, nestled beside the Indian Ocean and a mangrove and wildlife sanctuary.

The sanctuary features interconnected circular pods made of reinforced concrete, inspired by fisherman’s baskets. These structures provide a base for research, monitoring, and visitor information, all while preserving the sanctuary’s delicate ecosystem.

Nature-Infused Design: Circular concrete pods pay homage to the region’s geological history, creating a sanctuary that coexists with nature.

Research and Education: A base for research and a visitor center, this sanctuary combines education with conservation.

4. The House of Wisdom: A Beacon of Knowledge

Sharjah's Architectural Marvels: Tradition Meets Modernity!

The House of Wisdom, located on Sharjah International Airport Road, is a symbol of clarity and lightness. Designed by Foster + Partners, it features a floating roof and a transparent rectilinear volume.

This two-story building features a cantilevered roof that provides shade while maintaining visual connections with landscaped gardens. The House of Wisdom is a symbol of knowledge and sustainability, offering a unique reading experience.

Desert Harmony: This structure’s cantilevered roof complements the desert surroundings while providing shade.

Sustainable Design: Fixed aluminum screens and movable bamboo screens offer energy-efficient climate control.

5. The Flying Saucer: Where Art Meets Architecture

Sharjah's Architectural Marvels: Tradition Meets Modernity!

The Flying Saucer, originally a 1970s French restaurant and patisserie, has undergone a remarkable transformation into an avant-garde arts center. Sharjah Art Foundation orchestrated this visionary repurposing.

Stripped of layers and meticulously renovated, the Flying Saucer now stands as an avant-garde arts centre. With its distinctive 32-pointed concrete dome, it is poised to host major art installations, fostering cultural exploration.

Architectural Resurgence: The removal of layers revealed the restaurant’s distinctive silhouette, making it a hub for artistic expression.

Cultural Hub: The expansive space hosts major art installations, fostering creativity in Sharjah.

6. Buhais Geology Park Interpretive Centre: Geological Wonders

Sharjah's Architectural Marvels: Tradition Meets Modernity!

The Buhais Geology Park Interpretive Centre is a tribute to the region’s geological history. Reinforced concrete pods with bronze-colored steel cladding house exhibition halls and a theatre, providing a deep dive into the earth’s secrets.

This visitor center, located amidst the Al Madam plain, is a network of interconnected circular pods, resembling sea urchins. It offers a unique opportunity for visitors to explore the geological wonders of the region.

Geological Exploration: Visitors embark on a journey into the geological wonders of the region.

Seamless Integration: The design harmoniously merges with the natural surroundings.

7. Al Faya Lodge and Al Bait Hotel: Historical Reimagining

Sharjah's Architectural Marvels: Tradition Meets Modernity!

Al Faya Lodge, nestled in the Maliha desert, and Al Bait Hotel, located near a souk, represent historical reimaginings. Al Faya Lodge, once a disused petrol pumping site, now offers luxury in the desert.

Al Faya Lodge, once a petrol pumping site, has been transformed into a luxurious boutique hotel with a saltwater spa. Al Bait Hotel offers guests a chance to immerse themselves in the historical lifestyle of Sharjah, preserving its rich heritage.

Historical Immersion: Al Bait Hotel offers guests a chance to immerse themselves in Sharjah’s historical lifestyle.

Desert Oasis: Al Faya Lodge transforms a petrol site into a luxurious desert retreat.


Sharjah’s architectural landscape is a testament to the fusion of tradition and modernity. These seven unique buildings showcase the emirate’s commitment to preserving its cultural heritage while embracing innovation. From sustainable headquarters to transformative renovations, Sharjah’s architectural marvels offer a glimpse into its rich history and promising future. As Sharjah continues to evolve, it remains a hidden gem in the heart of the UAE, waiting to be discovered by those who seek authenticity in a modern urban environment.

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