Community-building collaboration between Arada and American University of Sharjah recognised by American Institute of Architects
Sharjah’s newest landmark, Al Janah Pavilion at Aljada, has achieved global acclaim at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2021 Design Awards in the highly competitive Open International category.
The project was commissioned by Arada, the Emirate’s largest developer, which sponsored undergraduate students enrolled in a specially designed course at the American University of Sharjah (AUS)’s College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD).
Students underwent professional training with critiques and workshops for the year-long project, from design to construction resulting in a completed pavilion. The winning design, which was selected by HH Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Arada, and Ahmed Alkhoshaibi, CEO of Arada, was conceptualised by Aya Rahmy, who has since been hired as a Junior Architect by the developer.
The AIA IR Design Awards Program celebrates achievements in architectural design that uplift people and the planet emphasising inclusivity, health, and mindfulness for the future. Rahmy accepted the Commendation Award in a recent ceremony in Dubai along with Associate Professor Jason Carlow, who helmed the design studio and curriculum for the pavilion project.
“The fact that the pavilion was entered in the ‘Open International category’ means that it was competing against all types of buildings, large and small, designed by professional architects across the entire globe,” explained Carlow. “It’s a true mark of distinction for the student design team, Arada and the AUS Department of Architecture that the project was chosen from among such a broad field of projects and honoured at this international level.”
The Al Janah Pavilion covers 130 square metres and opened in June, with students electing to dedicate the landmark to the memory of Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, whose role as Chairman of Sharjah Urban Planning Council saw him play a major role in the development of the Emirate’s urban infrastructure while at the same time paying respect to its tradition and culture.
Sheikh Khalid’s key values are respectfully inscribed on adjoining stone benches, inviting contemplation amid serenity. The pavilion’s design is inspired by a traditional Islamic architectural device, the Muqarnas, which provides a decorative transition between different parts of buildings. This spatially dynamic geometric feat in the heart of Aljada is made all the more striking by latticelike shadows cast beneath.
Sharjah’s largest mixed-use community, Aljada is spread over a 24 million square foot plot with meticulously landscaped residential districts, parks, schools, and hotels, as well as a commercial and creative district. The project also includes the Madar at Aljada leisure and entertainment hub, which has been designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.