One year after her death, Zaha Hadid’s vision becoming reality in Sharjah

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Construction has begun in Sharjah for Bee’ah’s spectacular headquarters, designed by late Zaha Hadid. When the Iraqi-British architect died unexpectedly of a heart attack last year on March 31, 2016, while being treated in a Miami hospital for bronchitis, the world of architecture had lost one of its stars.

Bee’ah, the Middle East’s leading and award-winning environmental management company, has now entered into an agreement with Al Futtaim Carillion to construct the headquarters building.

The construction phase of the one of the most architecturally impressive buildings in the GCC region has begun and is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. It will also be a landmark achievement for the UAE and the region as it will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy sources and utilise recycled materials in construction.

The construction contract is supported by UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency, the first time that it has been involved in a venture in Sharjah.

Zaha Hadid designed the headquarters to minimise energy and resource consumption, and to be an icon of sustainability - in line with Bee’ah’s philosophy - combining the latest environmental solutions. The headquarters will be powered by low- and zero-carbon sources, including solar power and waste-to-energy. It has been developed to minimise the need to consume resources, using natural light and temperature management systems where possible and construction will use recycled materials.

Commenting on the contract, Salim bin Mohamed Al Owais, Chairman of Bee’ah, said: “As pioneers in environmental sustainability in the Middle East, Bee'ah is proud of our international alliances and the partnerships we have forged to advance our ambitious strategic goals. This agreement is a significant moment in the history of the UAE and especially Sharjah. It demonstrates Bee’ah’s dedication and commitment to delivering on promises to the people of the Emirates by providing tangible solutions to the greatest environmental challenges that face modern civilisation.”

The new headquarters will offer a sustainable and healthy workplace environment for all employees achieving a Platinum LEED rating, the highest certification for green buildings.

Her firm Zaha Hadid Architects has announced that all the projects will go ahead in the years ahead, with 36 of her projects in 21 countries either in development or in the process of being built.

Imprint in the UAE

The UAE can boast of having the Zaha Hadid imprint on other projects here, with the landmark 843-metre long bridge Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi which was completed in 2010, among her most iconic projects.

The others that are being built are the Performing Arts Centre in Abu Dhabi’s Sadiyaat Cultural District, the Opus mixed-use tower in Dubai, and now the Sharjah environment firm Bee’ah’s new headquarters.

Bee’ah’s management, while condoling her death, had said at that time that it had been engaged with Zaha Hadid’s firm since 2013 and were “privileged to have had her direct input and know-how informing the direction and design of our new Headquarters project, here in Sharjah.”

“As the largest fully integrated environmental waste management company in the Arabian Gulf region, the design and functionality of the 8,500 sq. meter building and 90,000 sq. meter site needed to reflect the natural environment of the UAE.

To this end, Hadid’s design of “intersecting sand dunes” is both iconic and relevant to Bee’ah’s environmental principles.

“Its innovative design, inspired by sand formations created by the wind movement and direction, addresses advanced environmental solutions in terms of structure, work environment and visitor-staff interactivity,” the company said.

Hadid’s firm understanding of the building’s need “to be seamlessly integrated into its natural environment, led to innovations for orientating the intersecting sand dunes design so as to optimize the prevailing Shamal (desert) winds, for natural ventilation.”