Architectural Digest (UAE)
WINNER The Flying Saucer, Sharjah, UAE, by SpaceContinuum Design Studio for Sharjah Arts Foundation
Sat at the intersection of some of Sharjah’s busiest motorways, the star-shaped Flying Saucer building was constructed in the mid-1970s. Thanks to a combination of space-age and Brutalist influences, it became something of a legend, and has undergone a series of transformations over the past several decades.
In the midst of the global lockdown of 2020, The Flying Saucer received a new lease of life courtesy of the Sharjah Arts Foundation that had acquired the building in 2012. A culmination of a restoration and rejuvenation project that commenced in 2018 saw the structure stripped off any amendments made over its lifetime, restoring the building to its original, iconic silhouette. Collaborating with UAE-based practice, SpaceContinuum Design Studio, the foundation added an open-air platform that would serve as a unifying public space and the aptly named underground area, ‘Launch Pad’. Planned around a sunken, glass-lined courtyard in the round, it houses a library, meeting pods and a host of adaptive spaces for workshops, exhibitions and much more. This project is a masterful demonstration of reimagining the region’s forgotten landmarks. sharjahart.org