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Arada reveals Il Teatro at Aljada, an iconic new performing arts centre for Sharjah, designed by famed Japanese architect Tadao Ando

Written by:
Tazeen Jafri

2,000-seat auditorium, gallery and events space will be a focal point of the Aljada master community. Spread over a 260,000 sqft space, the building and plaza are dedicated to art, culture and design. World-class cultural destination to be completed in 2027.

The Japanese architect Tadao Ando has been named as the designer of Il Teatro, a new performing arts center that will play a prominent role in Sharjah’s largest lifestyle community, Aljada. Arada, the master developer behind Aljada, has revealed the designs of Il Teatro’s striking structure, which will anchor the community’s Naseej cultural district.

A fully fledged cultural complex spread over 260,000 square feet, Il Teatro at Aljada and its surrounding plaza will host a wide variety of performances and shows, including opera, theatre, dance, ballet, musicals, concerts, films, art exhibitions and festivals. As well as a 2,000-seat auditorium, Il Teatro will also incorporate a gallery and boutique restaurant.

Featuring Tadao Ando’s trademark architectural simplicity, the design for Il Teatro consists of a pure, cylindrical concrete mass, which faces a multi-layered cultural plaza. Il Teatro is further defined by a dramatic secondary feature; a large, arched opening that enlivens the front of the building, forming a strong connection between its interior and exterior.

Spread over two levels, the plaza is an elevated public space that floats above a water feature and contains a large outdoor amphitheatre that faces Il Teatro. Brought to life by a series of events and activities, the plaza will also provide a multi-dimensional experience designed to inspire local artists and the growing creative community in the UAE. 

Winner of the Pritzker Prize in 1995, Japan’s Tadao Ando is one of the world’s most celebrated architects, whose dedication to the beauty of simplistic design has been incorporated into his major works, which include the Church of the Light in Osaka, Azuma House in Sumiyoshi and the Chichu Art Museum.

Il Teatro is the second of Tadao Ando’s projects in the UAE, following the Armani Beach Residences at Palm Jumeirah, also in partnership with Arada, which was announced earlier this year.

HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, Vice Chairman of Arada, said: “Il Teatro at Aljada represents an impressive new attraction for Sharjah and the wider UAE and adds significantly to the list of museums, galleries, entertainment venues and other cultural spaces for which Sharjah is already well-known.

“We’re extremely proud to be working with Tadao Ando, who has a long record of designing exceptional public spaces that enthral and engage their visitors, and we look forward to working with him to bring his vision to life.”

Tadao Ando, Founder of Tadao Ando Architects & Associates, said: “Il Teatro at Aljada will leave a lasting, intergenerational impact through its emphasis on culture and art. I have designed the central structure of the building to be round like the Earth as I wanted to create a new world inside it that will attract not only local people but visitors from around the globe.”

Elie Mrad, Chief Architectural Officer, Arada, said: “Tadao Ando’s style neatly incorporates a range of natural elements including stone, concrete, light and water, all of which combine to represent the beauty of simplicity. That approach has been captured in the design for Il Teatro and its surrounding plaza, which will act as a sociocultural meeting place for everyone.

Il Teatro occupies a prime position within Aljada, situated on the main access road into the master community. It also sits at the centre of the Naseej creative district, a cluster of 19 buildings that also incorporates the Vida Aljada hotel and branded apartments complex, which will be operated by Emaar Hospitality.

Residents living in the creative district will be able to enjoy access to Il Teatro via two ‘green spines’ or urban parks that contain lush foliage and dense tree coverage, with workshops, artist studios and cafes facing the parks on both sides. Those living in the neighbourhood will also enjoy a rich calendar of events, activations, performances and exhibitions, all just a short walk away from their front door.

Construction on Naseej District is already well under way, with the first homes due to be completed this year. Work on Il Teatro at Aljada will start next year, with the building and plaza scheduled for completion in 2027.  

Spread over a 24 million square foot area, Aljada is Sharjah’s largest ever project and a transformational destination for the Emirate. Aljada contains numerous residential districts, as well as extensive retail, hospitality, entertainment, sporting, educational, healthcare components and a business park, all set within a green urban master plan.

With over 25,000 homes planned for Aljada in total, Arada has so far completed 6,700 units, alongside an entertainment space designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, an international school and extensive retail, dining and landscaping facilities.

About Arada

Based in the UAE, Arada is a developer that has been created to build communities that enrich, engage and inspire their residents. Our homes are exceptionally designed and are complemented with best-in-class amenities, all provided at an accessible price point. Arada was founded in 2017 by HH Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Arada, and HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, Vice Chairman of Arada, with the intention of delivering superior properties to the UAE real estate segment.

By Naser Nader Ibrahim

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