About the project
Designed by Foster + Partners, the House of Wisdom conceptualises the library as a social hub for learning, supported by innovation and technology. Celebrating Sharjah as the 2019 UNESCO World Book Capital, the building creates a new publishing and research-based institution that seeks to be the catalyst for a new cultural quarter in the city.
The library is home to 305,000 books, of which 200,000 are in the digital format and 11,000 comprise books in varied languages. The building extends over 12,000 square meters. The two-story structure features a large floating roof cantilevering on all sides of a transparent rectilinear volume. The 15-meter-wide overhang shades the façades throughout most of the day, while aluminium screens are designed to filter the low sun in the evenings.
Inspired by the original House of Wisdom in Baghdad, it is the modern-day interpretation of a knowledge hub where all can come to seek enrichment. This smartly designed centre is a model for future libraries that blend traditional and digital sources of knowledge, interactive learning, and contemporary schooling.