Mleiha Archaeological Centre: contemporary design in the Sharjah desert, a project by Dabbagh Architects
Archaeology and architecture dialogue harmoniously in the Mleiha Archaeological Centre. Located in the Sharjah desert, at the foot of Fossil Rock, this contemporary facility includes a visitor center and museum. The project is an important cultural hub for the development of ecotourism focused on local wildlife, desert activities, as well as the history and archaeological riches of the areas surrounding Mleiha village in the Emirate of Sharjah.
Respect for the desert, the historic nature of the site and the memory of the place are the key elements of Dabbagh Architects’ project. The building is developed around a millennia-old Umm Al Nar Tomb with the desire to recover, preserve and celebrate it, making it accessible to all visitors.
Features of the Mleiha Archaeological Centre
The Mleiha Archaeological Centre is characterized by a concentric structure built around the Tomb. Its locally-sourced sandstone walls blend with the tones and colors of the surrounding landscape. Moreover, the center includes an indoor museum with exhibition rooms, a bookshop, a cafeteria, outdoor walkways, gardens and contemplation areas.
Various outdoor spaces have been created to allow visitors to admire the tomb from different angles and perspectives, such as a plaza around the funerary monument, lounge areas with stone seats, and a viewing terrace. The latter, in particular, offers an aerial view of the entire burial site and spectacular panoramic views of the desert and the surrounding mountainous landscape.
[Text: Arianna Callocchia / Photo: Gerry O’Leary / Rami Mansour]