Arada unveils Al Janah Pavilion, in memory of the late Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, at Aljada

27 June 2021

• Pavilion has been designed by students from American University of Sharjah
• Striking design is a modern interpretation of the Muqarnas Islamic architectural feature

Arada has unveiled Al Janah Pavilion, a striking architectural structure based at its Sharjah megaproject Aljada, which has been designed and built in partnership with students from the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (AUS). Located in the popular Madar district of the Aljada master plan, the design of the pavilion provides an iconic focal point for visitors to the community, and a contemplative space for people to gather.

The pavilion has been dedicated by the students to the memory of the late 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.

HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Arada, said: “The beautiful structure of Al Janah Pavilion is an example of what can be achieved when youth and creativity are inspired by the rich heritage and traditions of those who came before us.

“These same values also inspired Sheikh Khalid, who revered our past but also was open to progress and new ways of thinking. It is our hope that the space will be used as a place of inspiration and reflection that will protect and carry Sheikh Khalid’s legacy for future generations.

Professor Kevin Mitchell, Chancellor, said: “AUS benefits tremendously from collaborations with external partners like Arada. The Al Janah Pavilion is an example of what can be accomplished when partners who are dedicated to education provide opportunities for students to engage in meaningful projects. We are proud to be part of a project that has been dedicated to the memory of the late Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, who demonstrated a commitment to design and worked to enhance the quality of the urban environment”.

Visitors to Al Janah Pavilion can learn about a number of causes and themes that were important to Sheikh Khalid via a series of inscriptions on stone benches placed beneath the canopy. From compassion and justice to creativity and youth, the inscriptions allow visitors to reflect on Sheikh Khalid’s accomplishments and beliefs.

The Al Janah (which means ‘wing’ in Arabic) Pavilion was designed and developed during the 2018-2019 academic year by AUS students enrolled in a design studio course that was part of a collaboration between Arada and the university. Led by Associate Professor Jason Carlow, students investigated and developed methodologies for the design of roof canopies for extreme desert climates. One student, Aya Rahmy, whose conceptual design was adopted and refined, has since graduated from AUS and is now working as a Junior Architect with Arada.

The resulting design of the pavilion was inspired by one of the most unique features in Islamic architecture, the Muqarnas. Traditionally, Muqarnas were featured on the underside of domes to create a three-dimensional, decorative transition between the ceiling and the supporting walls. The pavilion’s contemporary interpretation of this feature has transformed the Muqarnas surface into a complex shading canopy that casts playful shadows as the sun moves across the sky.

Arada’s partnership with AUS provided students with a unique opportunity to engage in a design project from concept to completion. It also offered students invaluable learning experience of the various areas of architectural practice, including design development, coordination with consultants, project management and contract administration during the construction process.

Related: Arada teams up with American University of Sharjah students to build landmark pavilion in Aljada