Kalba Ice Factory
Kalba, Sharjah, UAE
On UAE’s East Coast,
amidst the rugged Hajar Mountains lies the town of Kalba, on the Gulf of Oman.
There, an abandoned
building with a distinctive saw-tooth shaped roof, made from corrugated metal
and an open concrete frame has been acquired by Sharjah Art Foundation in 2015.
Known as The Ice
Factory, the building is a former fish feed mill that was subsequently used by
local fisherman to store ice. It is located next to Kalba creek and the Al Qurm
mangrove swamp reserve, home to species unique to the area are like the
endangered Arabian-Collard Kingfisher, the French-toad lizard, the Blandford’s lizard, the
Mudcreeper as well as endangered hawksbill and green turtles, which nest on the
designed by 51-1, consists of a series of interventions in the Factory and the
addition of new facilities to turn the whole site of 20,000sqm into a cultural
centre for Kalba:
A strategic and
careful refurbishing of the abandoned factory is proposed, with the minimum
level of intervention to allow temporary art installations in its naves without
losing its powerful spatial qualities as an industrial ruin.
The Creek Side
On the factory’s blind facade
facing the creek, an additional volume following the same profile will be
built. There existing office spaces adjoining the factory, are replaced by 6
different apartments -with stunning views towards the creek and the Al Qurn
reserve- can host from an artist studio to a visiting family. Also in this
volume is located the information kiosk, toilets, a snack bar, tribunes and
platforms for events and contemplation of the beautiful surrounding landscape
of the Oman sea to the East, the Kalba mangroves to the South and the Hajar
mountains at sunset.
The Shaded Walkway
On the back side of
the factory, a long shaded pathway is built to connect it to the bank of the
creek. Its alignment of 13 degrees in relation to the shoreline causes the
water to slowly reveal itself as one approaches to the end. This structure
hosts a restaurant that exploits as much as possible the view of the mangroves.
restaurant and the road, an edible garden is planted with a serie of spaces to
have outdoor cooking, dining, playing and praying (a praying pavilion is built
inside). This also acts as a buffer green space form the neighboring shopping
mall recently built across the road.
A new entrance to
the complex is added with a decking path that goes from the street straight
through the mangrove and even hovering over the creek for its contemplation.
This path connects the parking spaces with the Garden, the Restaurant and
An existing 200sqm
structure in front of the factory is refurbished to accomodate workshop spaces
The Ghaf Line
In order to connect
the different components of the cultural centre, a meandering line of Prosopis
Cineraria trees (Ghaf Tree) are planted along the plot stretching from its two
car parking ends. The Ghaf tree, the UAE National Tree, also named the Union
Tree is an evergreen native specie that can withstand prolonged drought and
high salinity, tapping water deep in the sands.
comissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation in March 2017 will start construction in 2020.
DESIGN TEAM: César Becerra, Fernando Puente Arnao, Manuel de Rivero with Karina León, Cristian Zúñiga, Bruce Wong, Giuseli Huaripuma, Alvaro Orihuela.
SURFACE: 21,700 m2
LOCATION: Kalba, Sharjah, UAE
ADVISORS: KLING CONSULT GmbH main Consultant and Local Architect of Record, Claudia Paz (lighting)
CLIENT: Sharjah Art Foundation