zaha hadid architects (ZHA) has finalized its plans for a major leisure and entertainment development in sharjah, a united arab emirates city on the arabian gulf. the first phase of the project’s ‘central hub’, which was announced earlier this year, will complete in the first quarter of 2019. according to the architects, the design of the scheme conceptualizes a water droplet striking the earth’s surface — a moment captured in an array of elliptical buildings that are configured to channel cooling winds.

zaha hadid aljada
the scheme includes 732,000 square feet of public squares and gardens
image by cosmoscube | main image by VA



ZHA’s design serves as the focal point of ‘aljada’, a $6.5 billion USD development backed by arada, a UAE-based developer. articulated around its large central plaza and public observation tower, the car-free ‘central hub’ will be more than 25 football fields in size (1.9 million square feet). the scheme includes 732,000 square feet of public squares and gardens, which have been designed to be occupied throughout the year — even in summer.

zaha hadid aljada
the destination has been designed to be occupied throughout the year
image by VA



the complex’s natural ecosystem, irrigated by recovered and recycled water, is designed to sustain a microclimate at ground level for gardens featuring plant species native to the region, while the central hub’s lighting requirements will be entirely met by smart solar power. work on the project’s first phase — which will include an outdoor cinema space, a food truck village, and skate park — has already begun and is scheduled to wrap up in early 2019, ahead of the central hub’s total completion in 2022.

zaha hadid aljada
the project is already under construction
image by cosmoscube



‘aljada’s central hub stands as an example of how conscious design can work with the environment to create a truly unique and inspirational focus for its community,’ says johannes schafelner, project director, zaha hadid architects. ‘the central hub is a defining project for sharjah and the UAE, and we have been proud to work closely with arada on bringing this development to life.’



project team:


ZHA directors: patrik schumacher, charles walker
ZHA project directors: johannes schafelner, tariq khayyat (head of middle east)
ZHA project associates: dennis brezina, gerhild orthacker, damiano rizzini
ZHA project designer: yifan zhang, nassim eshaghi, evgeniya yatsyuk
ZHA technical reviewer: armando solano, stephane vallotton
ZHA project team: alessandra lazzoni, valeria mazzilli, marius cernica, john- alan gallerie, sattor jabbor, marianna custodio dos santos, juan montiel, pelayo bustillo macias, erwan gallou, fenji koshy, sebastian andia, dimitris kolonia, lenka petrakova, dennis schiaroli, shajay bhooshan, vishu bhooshan, tommaso casucci, dalia bohsali, tamara salman, naitik trivedi, jawaher almutairi
ZHA competition team:
ZHA project architect: jakub klaska
ZHA project team: tariq khayyat, damiano rizzini, eduardo camarena, juan montiel, jamie edindjiklian, silviya barzakova, valeria mazzilli, nicolas turchi, john alan gallerie