The Africa Institute has commissioned David Adjaye and Adjaye Associates for its new, state-of-the-art building in Sharjah, UAE, and the designs have just been revealed. Dominated by strong geometric volumes in soft pink hues, the new Africa Institute is set to become a key centre for the study, research and documentation of Africa and the African diaspora in the Arab world.
The institute’s new campus, spearheaded by its director Salah M Hassan and president Hoor Al Qasimi, was conceived to be multifunctional and multi-faceted, supporting the busy organisation’s many activities – including international symposia and conferences, art exhibitions, commissions, film, performances, and a higher education programme set to roll out from 2023, alongside a varied public programme. First conceived in 1976 as part of the Symposium on African and Arab Relations, the Africa Institute has been housed up till now in the Africa Hall, a building on site that will be incorporated into the Adjaye Associates scheme.
All activities will be located within the colourful design’s four wings, all of which are united by a series of open-air interior courtyards and architectural gardens. The colours and volume arrangement of the structure responds to the region’s land and climatic needs, explains Adjaye. Large overhangs and shaded open-air spaces featuring water elements and planting are designed to ‘enhance the desert typology' and work with the needs of the natural context. Meanwhile, open entryways connect the site with the urban surroundings.
‘I am deeply humbled for the opportunity to design The Africa Institute in Sharjah, a project that introduces an entirely new type of thinking and mission into the global academic arena,’ says Adjaye. ‘I envision the new campus as a springboard for the concretisation of the incredible history of Africa, the African diaspora, and the Arab world.’
The new building, finely tuned to support this important institution for critical thinkers in its field, is currently scheduled for completion in 2023.
Receive our daily digest of inspiration, escapism and design stories from around the world direct to your inbox
Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).
Hella Jongerius named Honorary Royal Designer for Industry 2023
The Dutch designer received the Honorary Royal Designer for Industry 2023 accolade alongside creatives from different disciplines
By Rosa Bertoli Published
London restaurant and tequila bar Ixchel brings Mexico’s timeless flavour to every sip and bite
On London’s King’s Road, Ixchel offers an unmissable fusion of Mexican art, cuisine and atmosphere
By Sofia de la Cruz Published
Matthew M Williams is leaving Givenchy
American designer Matthew M Williams is set to exit his role as creative director of Givenchy after a three-year tenure
By Jack Moss Published
Installation SUPER LIMBO activates the empty building site of Sharjah Mall
SUPER LIMBO installation by Limbo Accra and Ivorian textile brand Super Yaya uses weaving methods to activate the paused building site of Sharjah Mall during Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2023
By Nana Ama Owusu-Ansah Published
Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2023 celebrates the ‘beauty of impermanence’
The Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2023, curated by Tosin Oshinowo, focuses on beauty, impermanence and adaptability; and it has just launched in the UAE
By Ellie Stathaki Last updated
East Architecture Studio, Lebanon and UAE: Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2023
East Architecture Studio, with a base in Lebanon and the UAE, joins the ranks of the Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2023, our annual round-up of exciting emerging architecture studios
By Ellie Stathaki Published
130 William by Adjaye Associates’ holistic vision is unveiled in New York
We unveil the holistic design of Adjaye Associates’ 130 William, the residential scheme that has just completed in New York
By Ellie Stathaki Published
Oberoi Beach Resort, Al-Zorah by Piero Lissoni is an understated UAE gem
The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al-Zorah by Piero Lissoni offers beach breaks and contemporary design in the UAE
By Daven Wu Published
The pioneering architecture of Nigerian artist-designer Demas Nwoko
The work of pioneering Nigerian artist-designer Demas Nwoko has stood the test of time; as he is awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Biennale Architettura 2023
By Ijeoma Ndukwe Last updated
Roar, UAE: Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2022
Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory is our annual round-up of exciting emerging architecture studios. Our 2022 list includes UAE-based studio Roar, with this minimalist home in Dubai
By Martha Elliott Last updated
Louvre Abu Dhabi Residences to elevate art of living in UAE
A new development of 400 exclusive residences will offer the chance to live alongside the iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi in the heart of the UAE’s Saadiyat Island Cultural District
By Simon Mills Last updated