London, UK – The Africa Institute in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates – the first centre of its kind dedicated to the advanced study, research, and documentation of Africa and the African diaspora located in the Arab world – has commissioned Adjaye Associates to design its new campus in downtown Sharjah.
Designed by David Adjaye, the architecture creates an enclosed campus with four wings between four and seven stories each. Connected by a series of open-air interior courtyards and punctuated by large overhangs which produce shade and relief from solar heat, the low carbon concrete structure enhances the desert typology which requires a sensitive and contextual response. The open-air courtyards span the first and ground floors are punctuated by water features and native planters which improve air circulation and provide natural cooling. The 31,882-square-metre (343,175-square-foot) campus will include spaces of differing character and scale for classes and seminars as well as a research library and climatized archive facility, flexible auditorium and performance space, a restaurant and café, and a bookstore. Entryways on each of its four façades will welcome the public and connect The Africa Institute with surrounding institutions and public walkways.
The Africa Institute is also commissioning artists to create site-specific installations throughout the public spaces of its new building, which will be announced at a later date. The campus building is scheduled for completion in 2023.