House of Wisdom: Sharjah’s new cultural landmark
A Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) project, House of Wisdom reimagines libraries for the 21st century, and is scheduled for public opening in April this year in Sharjah.
Boasting a built-up area of 12,000 square metres and characterised by iconic design elements, contemporary Arabic architecture and interactive facilities, this high-tech library and social hub was unveiled by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah on 23 April 2019, to mark the celebration of the emirate’s recognition as UNESCO World Book Capital 2019. Sharjah was the first city in the Gulf region and third city in the Arab world to be awarded this prestigious title.
The iconic House of Wisdom, built to commemorate the UNESCO honour recognising Sharjah’s ongoing cultural journey and achievements for nearly 50 years is the latest addition to the emirate’s numerous cultural offerings where books and knowledge can be openly accessed by people of all age groups and nationalities.
The Scroll, a striking monument stands close to the House of Wisdom, which Shurooq commissioned to UK-based artist Gerry Judah's monument, and was unveiled at the time Sharjah began its yearlong tenure as the UNESCO World Book Capital 2019.
House of Wisdom strengthens Sharjah’s position as a melting pot of cultures
Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Head of Advisory Committee of Sharjah World Book Capital (SWBC), Vice President of International Publishers Association (IPA) said: “Sharjah was founded on pillars of literature, education and a strong passion for harnessing intellectual creativity – be it local, regional or global. The House of Wisdom project is a new cultural milestone, and has strengthened Sharjah’s position as a melting pot of world cultures in the region. The ethos behind this library are the same ones that guide Sharjah’s development process, and proves once more, that the sustainability and growth of any nation can only be ensured by promoting continuous opportunities for learning and gaining knowledge.”
Sheikha Bodour emphasised that the project embodies the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah, on investing in human capital and education by enabling them better access to knowledge-based tools that usher in growth and development.
Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi added that the House of Wisdom symbolises Sharjah’s relationship with culture and knowledge, and once complete, will be a place where new cultural connections will be made. between individuals, families, friends from diverse backgrounds as they explore abundant knowledge sources, engage with others in a welcoming and social environment, and fuel their passion for reading – gaining a newly-introduced life experience at this futuristic library. She concluded saying that House of Wisdom manifests Sharjah’s inspiring cultural journey – one that led to its naming as the UNESCO World Book Capital 2019.
HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman of Shurooq, said that the House of Wisdom, developed by Shurooq, and designed by award-winning British architectural design firm Foster + Partners, will serve as a model for future libraries as it blends traditional and digital sources of knowledge, promotes interactive learning and contemporary pedagogy, and will be a first-of-its-kind social hub for learning, supported by innovation and technology.
He added: “Built in keeping with the fast-changing world of technology, the House of Wisdom, which is now 60% complete, is being designed to stimulate a new way of reading and knowledge exploration – with increased focus on collaborative learning spaces – the two-storeyed House of Wisdom will feature a 105,000 plus books library, discussion halls, reading lounges, extensive exhibition spaces, children’s educational area, suspended pod spaces above the central courtyard for quiet reading, a café and a restaurant, and landscaped gardens.”
Founded in 2009, Shurooq aims to achieve social, cultural, environmental and economic development on the basis of Sharjah's distinct Arab and Islamic culture and to seamlessly add to the fabric of the emirate. It strives to develop the emirate and encourage investment by adopting the best international standards in providing high-end services that help draw local, regional and international investment.