In celebration of Sharjah being named the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Book Capital 2019, His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi unveiled the House of Wisdom in April 2019.
The House of Wisdom, located on the Sharjah International Airport Road, 10 km from the city centre, welcomes the community of Sharjah and the world into a space that has been conceptualised as a social hub for learning, supported by innovation and technology. It will feature more than 100,000 books.
The design intent was to create a harmonious learning space through human-centric approach. The two-storey building will feature a large floating roof, cantilevering on all sides over a transparent rectilinear volume, embodying a sense of clarity and lightness. The roof provides a peaceful and conducive learning space, while minimising the building’s environmental footprint by reducing demand on the mechanical and electrical systems needed to keep the building cool.
Our appointment included providing engineering services for the structural; mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) elements; geotechnical engineering; utilities; transport planning; roads; façades; a building maintenance unit (BMU); and other building services such as vertical transportation, security, audio/visual (AV), information and communication technology (ICT), fire and life safety, waste management, and acoustics.
“Designing the building services engineering systems for the House of Wisdom required innovative ideas developed across disciplines and in close coordination with the architectural team. For instance, to realise the vision of lightness with the large cantilevering floating roof on top of a fully-glazed façade, the building services plant were hidden from view in submerged rooftop plantrooms to maintain the clean lines of the roof design”, said Matt Kennedy, a principal mechanical engineer on the project.