UAE-based developer, ARADA has announced that one of the world’s most prominent architecture practices, Zaha Hadid Architects, will design the Central Hub, the centrepiece of Aljada, the developer’s iconic Sharjah mega project. UK-based Zaha Hadid Architects was awarded the contract following a competition featuring some of the most acclaimed architects from around the globe.

Designed with environmental considerations integrated throughout the masterplan to minimise the consumption of resources, the winning entry conceptualises the first moment a water droplet strikes the earth’s surface, captured in an array of elliptical buildings designed to channel prevailing winds into civic spaces and courtyards to facilitate cooling during the summer months.

The central observation tower is surrounded by vibrant public squares that incorporate water features irrigated by recovered and recycled water, while tensile canopies will sustain a microclimate at ground level for verdant gardens featuring species native to the region.

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of ARADA, said: “Zaha Hadid Architects is globally renowned for forward-thinking and transformational urban design. While all of the companies in this design competition offered outstanding designs, Zaha Hadid Architects’ integrated design approach matched our vision for Aljada’s Central Hub as an interconnected destination. This approach is synonymous with ARADA’s mission to develop rewarding and engaging communities, building the Sharjah of tomorrow.”

The first phase of the Central Hub will create a fun and family-friendly destination, with a series of events, activities and attractions designed for residents of Sharjah and other Emirates to enjoy the Aljada site throughout the year. Aside from the ARADA sales centre, the first phase will also include an adventure activity zone, a food truck destination showcasing home-grown brands, and outdoor events spaces.

Tariq Khayyat, head of region—Middle East, Zaha Hadid Architects, said: “Zaha Hadid Architects is proud to partner with ARADA on a project designed for Sharjah’s community and its visitors. Applying all our knowledge and experience in creating some of the world’s most popular civic spaces, we look forward to working closely with ARADA to deliver the Central Hub; fostering Sharjah’s public realm as a truly global city.”

Aljada was unveiled by HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, during an exclusive ceremony in early September. Since that date, and helped by ARADA’s first appearance at the Cityscape Global real estate showpiece, the 24mnsqft project has become Sharjah’s fastest-selling residential community.