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Friday
Sep252015

'Al Qasba' Project - My dream come true!

When i moved to the U.A.E nine years ago i stayed in Sharjah for the first four years. Sharjah is considered to be the cultural capital of the nation. One of my favorite hang-outs here was “Al Qasba”. It is one of the most picturesque sites in Sharjah. It is home to “The Eye of the Emirates wheel” which is a 60 meters high ferris wheel. It’s two buildings are separated by a one kilometer long manmade canal. Al Qasba’s unique architectural design includes pedestrian bridges across the canal and boats to take visitors onto the adjoining Khalid and Al Khan lagoons. It also features the state-of-the-art Masrah Al Qasba, a 250-seat theatre, winner of LEAF Award 2012 in Refurbishment of the Year category, which hosts a plethora of events, including artistic, musical, film, theatrical, and poetry performances, as well as conferences and summits on a regular basis. Al Qasba is home to Business Centres which offers support to entrepreneurs by providing them with virtual offices. Al Qasba's Maraya Art Centre is an initiative by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) to promote young artists from both the Arab region and the international art scene. The non-profit art space launched in March 2010 is one of most spectacular venues for contemporary visual arts in the United Arab Emirates.

 Al Qasba

Al Qasba

It was my dream to have an office in Al Qasba someday! I love what it reflects, it is traditional yet ever embracing of the modern culture. There is a beautiful balance and harmony that echoes through it’s structure, it’s ambience and it’s people. 

I came very close to realizing that dream this year as i was approached by Shurooq (Sharjah Investment and Development Authority) to design one of their offices in Al Qasba! Firstly being approached by a government authority is a little intimidating but at the same time exhilarating as well. On my weekly site visits i stood on that bridge and thought about that dream i had nine years ago, i was so thankful !! It is one of those moments in life where no one may see the achievement, it may not be that great to be recognized, but u feel it in your heart and its over whelming. It is a testament to the strength of the human mind and how some conviction and passion can bring the universe together in your favor. It may happen once in nine years but it is ever so powerful :)

The design process- Site pic, my sketches and 3d rendering.

My project manager from Shurooq is one of the most gracious and talented young girls i have met and an absolute pleasure to work with. I am truly grateful that she believed in me enough to convince the management of my capabilities. 

Aesthetically the project is very simple. We focussed on making the layout as functional and efficient as possible. I concentrated more on the work flow and traffic around the office and made sure all the services were well coordinated. We divided the two departments on either side of the central space with the department heads over looking their staff who were located in the back area. We strategically placed the pantry behind the reception area for easy access and made a design feature of it. The beech wood panelling that encases the pantry is highlighted by warm strip lighting from above. The same feature is repeated in the partition that divides the offices. Our initial proposal was to go with a cement floor but because of budget and time restraints we had to opt for tiles with a cement look. Overall it may not be high on design but it is a very functional and well planned office, if i may say so myself! I wanted it to imbibe the balance and harmony of the Al Qasba. And i was very pleased to hear from Shurooq that the “Project was a success!”. Appreciation from my clients will always be my greatest victory!

Site work in progress

Final results!

Until next time “Stay true to yourself…. Stay Funky”

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