Foster + Partners shape culture

The british firm builds House of Wisdom cultural center in Sharjah, with the support from Francesconi Architectural Light

House of Wisdom, Sharjah
House of Wisdom, Sharjah

Not only is this new building in the Arab Emirates a ‘house for books’ in which to promote knowledge and reading, it is also a hub for research, innovation, dialogue, and the creation of new ideas. Foster + Partners designed the House of Wisdom, Sharjah’s new cultural center, to celebrate the city’s 2019 nomination as a UNESCO World Book Capital.

Covering 12,000 square meters over two levels, the structure houses a library with 105,000 books, study areas, a reading room with state-of-the-art services, multipurpose spaces, and lecture halls equipped for conferences, events, and exhibitions.

Outside, the straight-lined, transparent structure supports a large roof that is cantilevered on all sides with a 15-meter ledge shading the facades alongside a large garden and an expansive reflecting pool. The pool is enhanced by majestic fountains lit by Francesconi Architectural Light using recessed underwater Flea Mini products to create accents and scenic effects.