Completion of the renovation of the former Kalba Ice Factory,
Peruvian company 51-1 Arquitectos has converted the former Kalba Ice Factory,
an abandoned industrial site of 20,000 square metres, into art spaces with social facilities,
for the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) on the east coast of the emirate, in Kalba, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates .
Named after the Kalba Ice Factory, the building is located in the city of Kalba on the Gulf of Oman and was used as a fish feed factory and ice storage facility with a distinctive sawtooth roof.
The building was acquired by Sharjah Art Foundation in 2015 and has since served as the site for Sharjah Art Foundation’s interventions
including Sharjah Biennial 14 for Sharjah Biennial in Zang (2019) and Adrien Villar Rojas Planetarium for Sharjah Biennial 12 (2015)
The building was inaugurated for the fifteenth edition of the Sharjah Biennial on February 8 as the site of the Biennial.
Sharjah Biennial 15 takes place from February 7 to June 11, 2023.
Sharjah Biennial 15 (SB15) is organized by Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Art Foundation.
The renovation required to design a minimal intrusion of the factory space to preserve its strong spatial characteristics as an industrial ruin.
The renovation also envisioned expanding the building with studios and living spaces for visiting and guest artists.
The renovation includes an extensive artist’s workshop, a shaded walkway along the shoreline,
an edible garden and a rooftop restaurant overlooking the surrounding mangroves.
Notable works in the biennial also include Rebecca Bellmore,
Ibrahim Mahama, Pak Khawaten Art Club, Doris Salcedo,
Abdul Raheem Salem, Kahorangiariki Smith, Innotech Storch, and Nari Ward.
The stark industrial space created by the factory building’s tall windows and light-filled spaces is suitable for large-scale installations and performances,
complemented by the natural beauty of its surroundings.
Adjacent to Khor Kalba and the Mangrove Swamp Reserve,
the Kalba Ice Factory is located in a highly biodiverse area of the emirate,
which is home to species of birds including the endangered Arabian Cabbage Bird,
Blandford lizard, Hawksbill turtle and the endangered Green turtle.
With views of the Sea of Oman to the east, the mangroves of Kalba to the south and the Hajar Mountains to the west,
this new cultural venue on Sharjah’s east coast extends the Foundation’s longstanding commitment to preserving culturally significant sites across the emirate and reaching out to the public.
New outside the city centre.
Overlooking the creek with stunning views of the Mangrove Reserve,
the adjacent structure that forms the profile of the ice factory will house six apartments and public social spaces.
At the front, an existing structure is repurposed into a 200 square meter workshop space for the artists,
and just behind the factory will be a restaurant overlooking the beach and mangroves.
Afterwards Separating the restaurant from the adjacent road is an edible garden that includes a series of spaces for eating,
cooking, playing and praying.
A raised deck connects the parking spaces to the garden, restaurant and factory.
Neem trees will line the entire avenue, connecting the various elements of the renovation.
Kalba is part of the cultural and environmental formation of the Emirate of Sharjah
Kalba is also a very important part of the cultural and environmental formation of the Emirate of Sharjah,
and the abandoned site will be revived by transforming it into a multi-faceted gathering space for the residents of this area as well as for visitors from all over the emirate and around the world.
ِAccordingly By preserving the industrial roughness of the factory space and protecting the unique ecosystem of the surrounding landscape,
this project extends the Foundation’s critical work in preserving sites of historical,
cultural and ecological significance for future generations through adaptive reuse, engaging communities across the emirate.
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