ARADA appoints Zaha Hadid Architects to design Aljada’s Central Hub following global competition

Aljada Centrul Hub designed by Zaha Hadid Architects

Top British architecture firm unveils striking design prior to the official opening of the leisure and entertainment complex in Q4 2018

ARADA has announced that one of the world’s most prominent architecture practices, Zaha Hadid Architects, will design the Central Hub, the centrepiece of Aljada, the developer’s iconic Sharjah megaproject. UK-based Zaha Hadid Architects was awarded the contract following a competition featuring some of the most acclaimed architects from around the globe.

Designed with environmental considerations integrated throughout the masterplan to minimise the consumption of resources, the winning entry conceptualises the first moment a water droplet strikes the earth’s surface, captured in an array of elliptical buildings designed to channel prevailing winds into civic spaces and courtyards to facilitate cooling during the summer months.

The central observation tower is surrounded by vibrant public squares that incorporate water features irrigated by recovered and recycled water, while tensile canopies will sustain a microclimate at ground level for verdant gardens featuring species native to the region. The first phase of the Central Hub, which will include the opening of ARADA’s hi-tech experiential sales centre, will be launched in the last quarter of 2018.

HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of ARADA, said: “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.”

The heart of the AED24 billion Aljada mixed-use development, the 1.9 million square foot Central Hub will be a new focus for leisure and entertainment in the UAE, and a significant addition to an Emirate that is already widely regarded as the cultural capital of the Arab world. Aljada’s Central Hub will be a major destination for tourists and residents in its own right, offering a carefully selected mix of world-class offerings, complemented by community facilities and an array of retail and dining experiences.

In line with ARADA’s mission to create a vibrant and sustainable urban environment, the Zaha Hadid Architects design for the Central Hub will incorporate the use of treated wastewater to allow the vegetation in the precinct to flourish, while the architecture will incorporate active and passive measures to lower the demand for indoor cooling.

The First Avenue street view, part of Aljada by ARADA

The first phase of the Central Hub will create a fun and family-friendly destination, with a series of events, activities and attractions designed for residents of Sharjah and other Emirates to enjoy the Aljada site throughout the year. Aside from the ARADA sales centre, the first phase will also include an adventure activity zone, a food truck destination showcasing home-grown brands, and outdoor events spaces.

Tariq Khayyat, Head of Region – Middle East, Zaha Hadid Architects, said: “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 deliver the Central Hub; fostering Sharjah’s public realm as a truly global city.”

Aljada by ARADA view of the residential parks

Aljada was unveiled by HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, during an exclusive ceremony in early September. Since that date, and helped by ARADA’s first appearance at the Cityscape Global real estate showpiece, the 24 million sq. ft. project has become Sharjah’s fastest-selling residential community.

In January, ARADA secured a AED1 billion financing facility from two UAE banks to help fund the development of Aljada, and also announced that CH2M had been awarded the infrastructure design contract for the project. Delivered in phases starting in 2019, construction on Aljada will begin in the first quarter of 2018 and the entire project is expected to be completed by 2025.

The Aljada masterplan is carefully designed with walkability and wide green spaces in mind, allowing residents, workers and visitors the ability to live, work, play and be entertained within a fully integrated and sustainable community. Aljada is ideally situated on the last major plot of undeveloped land in the heart of Sharjah, with exceptional connectivity to surrounding areas, and is an all-encompassing district that comprises considerable retail, leisure and entertainment options, in addition to a wide range of residential and commercial offerings.