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Zaha Hadid Architects wins key Emirates scheme

Zaha Hadid Architects' Aljada Central Hub
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Zaha Hadid Architects is to design the centrepiece of a high-profile 220ha residential development in the United Arab Emirates

The practice won an international contest to land the Central Hub scheme within the Aljada complex in Sharjah. It is understood HOK and RMJM also entered the competition.

ZHA’s project, for developer Arada, will feature an observation tower surrounded by public squares with water features.

Central Hub is intended to be a destination for tourists and residents, and will offer ‘world-class amenities complemented by community facilities as well as retail and dining experiences’, according to ZHA.

The firm said its proposal ‘conceptualises the moment a water droplet strikes the earth’s surface’, with elliptical buildings designed to channel prevailing winds into civic spaces and courtyards to aid cooling during the hot summer.

Water features will be irrigated by recovered and recycled water. Tensile canopies will sustain a microclimate at ground level for verdant gardens of native species.

Arada chairman HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi 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 first phase of the Central Hub scheme will create a series of attractions and activities for residents of Sharjah, including an adventure activity zone, a food market showcasing home-grown delicacies, and outdoor events spaces.

ZHA head of Middle East, Tariq Khayyat, said: ‘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 foster Sharjah’s public realm in delivering Aljada’s Central Hub.’

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