In Sharjah, UAE, the House of Wisdom library and cultural center by Foster + Partners recently opened to the public. The two-story building includes a library, café, event spaces, shared and individual reading lounges, a green courtyard, and prayer room. The rectilinear structure, shaded by a cantilevering roof that extends 50 feet on each side, is clad in a system of perforated aluminum panels. From the ground level interior, adjustable bamboo screens filter more sunlight.

“The House of Wisdom in Sharjah is a forward-looking conception of what a library should be in the 21st century – embracing a digital future while playing a crucial role as a community hub for learning, underpinned by innovation and technology,” Foster + Partners head of studio, Gerard Evenden, said in a statement.

“The straight, minimalist lines of the building complement the dunes of the desert, set within a lush landscape. [It] is set to be an oasis for the local community, led by research and innovation, at the heart of a new cultural district,” Evenden added.

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