House of Wisdom, Sharjah
Foster + Partners
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Soft Cells Broadline panels by Kvadrat Acoustics were installed on the ceiling of the Al Rasheed Hall (auditorium) covering a total of 188 m2, while 82 m2 of Soft Cells Tracks 25mm panels by Kvadrat Acoustics were installed on the walls.
The large single Soft Cells Broadline panels were chosen to give an acoustically comfortable environment (they provide a Class A sound absorption, NRC = 1), while creating an aesthetically clean look with a minimal amount of panel joints (the longest panels are 1.0 x 8.0 meters).
They enable the architects to introduce continuous air diffusers and LED lighting modules in a very tight configuration, while allowing easy access to all the service channels behind the panels.
Designed by Foster + Partners, the House of Wisdom conceptualises the library as a social hub for learning, supported by innovation and technology.
Celebrating Sharjah as the 2019 UNESCO World Book Capital, the building creates a new publishing and research-based institution that seeks to be the catalyst for a new cultural quarter in the city.
The library is home to 305,000 books, of which 200,000 are in the digital format and 11,000 comprise books in varied languages.
The building extends over 12,000 square meters. The two-story structure features a large floating roof cantilevering on all sides of a transparent rectilinear volume. The 15-meter-wide overhang shades the façades throughout most of the day, while aluminium screens are designed to filter the low sun in the evenings.
Inspired by the original House of Wisdom in Baghdad, it is the modern-day interpretation of a knowledge hub where all can come to seek enrichment. This smartly designed centre is a model for future libraries that blend traditional and digital sources of knowledge, interactive learning, and contemporary schooling. It is set to be the destination for important conferences, events, extra-curricular courses, and educational sessions for all ages.
Imagery by White Cube Studios