Close to the airport, 10 kilometers from the center of Sharjah, stands this two-floor building by the British firm Foster + Partners. Overhangs 15 meters wide shade the facades against the sun, and aluminum lattices varying in density filter solar rays. Inside, movable bamboo screens provide privacy while helping to keep glare in check, and when they are not in use, users can enjoy views of the gardens that complete the premises.
The roof is held up by four cores, forming uninterrupted, column-free spaces. The cores near the entrance contain large sculptural staircases. Entrance is through a double-height foyer, and a plant-filled courtyard next to it serves as both a place for people to stop and rest in and as a venue for events. The lower level harbors a café, exhibition galleries, educational facilities, archives, and a reading room featuring a machine that prints and binds books on demand. Upstairs are more exhibition and reading areas, along with a prayer room and a space for women only.