Architectural honours in Sharjah

HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasim was awarded by RIBA.

The award-winning Mleiha Archaeology Centre, sensitively designed by Dabbagh Architects in responce to a landscape rich in archaeology, was opened by His Highness in 2016.

HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has been honoured with the prestigious Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in recognition of his services to architecture.

The University of Sharjah opened within the new University City in 1998. Administration building of University of Sharjah is typical of Sharjah’s distinctly neo-classical Islamic style designed by Architectural Academic Office.

RIBA Honorary Fellowships are awarded annually to people who are not architects but have made a particular contribution to architecture.

Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation opened in 2008. It was originally built in 1987 as Al Majarah Souq, along Sharjah Creek Corniche. The architect was Edward Mansfield of Halcrow & Partners, though the concept for the 200m long building was sketched and influenced by His Highness.

The honour will be conferred on HH the Ruler of Sharjah at a grand ceremony in London on February 12, 2019.

Al Hisn Museum commenced in 1823. Home to the ruling Qasimi family for nearly 150 years, it was demolished in 1970. It was reconstructed under the direction of the Ruler during the mid-1990s, with further restoration work recently undertaken.

Sumaya Dabbagh, founder of Dubai-based Dabbagh Architects, id Lifetime Achievement Award Winner and Chair of RIBA’s Gulf Chapter, said, ‘It is a great privilege for us to have HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi as an RIBA Honorary Fellow. We are delighted that his support of architectural education and patronage of architectural development in Sharjah has been recognised by this award’.

The Central Souk was designed by British architects Michael Lyle & Partners, and completed 1978. One can see the hand of His Highness in its exuberant and classical design.

‘Especially, as this comes at a time when we are seeing an increasing relevance for RIBA in the region. The RIBA accreditation offers a stamp of quality and a professional endorsement for local practices acknowledging an international standard of quality practice. The recent visits by our CEO and President have affirmed this and we anticipate substantial expansion of the chartered practices across the region’, he continues.

Al Majaz Waterfront, by Shurooq, and designed by Wael al Masry, forms part of the 6km waterfront facing Khaled Lagoon, that was dredged from tidal sabqa flats in the 1970s. It has been an intrinsic part of the Ruler’s vision to provide public gardens and recreation space for inner-city flat dwellers.

Peter Jackson, Architect Advisor in HH Ruler’s Office and a founder Member of the RIBA Gulf Chapter, welcomed the honour saying: ‘This recognition of HH the Ruler of Sharjah’s contribution to architecture is especially appropriate. Since taking over in 1972, HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi has stamped and shaped Sharjah with its own individual character. Through his particular passion for creative design and Islamic architecture, the Ruler has commissioned many of its fine buildings. He closely involves himself with the planning and architecture of the Emirate, providing Sharjah with its own unique and powerful identity within the Arab and Islamic world.’

Al Maghfrah Mosque 2004 by Architectural Academic Office is an especially beautiful example of Sharjah’s mosque architecture commissioned by the Ruler.

‘As a strong advocate for the conservation of historic buildings and urban centres, the Ruler has enabled Sharjah to retain much of its fine traditional architectural heritage’, he concludes.

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