The Flying Saucer building of Sharjah has won the Best Cultural Project Award for 2021 by the “Architectural Digest” magazine.
Since its construction in the middle of the 1970s, the building has been a part of the aesthetic and cultural memory of the Emirate of Sharjah.
The late restoration process performed by the Sharjah Art Foundation has restored the original architectural nature of the Flying Saucer.
The iconic structure, which has been a part of Sharjah’s collective cultural memory since the mid-1970s, was reopened on Sept.26, 2020.
Reflecting its original silhouette of the 1970s, the architectural landmark features new exterior spaces, as well as community gathering spaces which include a multi-activity cafe around a sunken courtyard with a library and multiple screening walls.
he venue reopened with the presentation of the site-responsive multimedia installation,Lindsay Seers and Keith Sargent: Nowhere Less Now3.
The star-shaped structure, acquired by the Foundation in 2012 and used as an exhibition venue since 2015, has gone through a series of modifications since its opening in 1978 to house various businesses such as a café and restaurant, newsstand, gift shop, supermarket and pharmacy.
The Flying Saucer has long been part of the collective cultural memory and identity of Sharjah.
Its architecture draws on the space-age influence of 1960s and 1970s western literature and popular culture, and Brutalist architecture of the same period.
Notable elements of its design include a wide circular dome that seems to hover above a ring of eight columns, a star-shaped canopy projecting beyond a fully glazed panoramic facade and a bright and open interior space supported by angled V-shaped pillars.