51-1 Arquitectos transforms a Sharjah ice plant into a center for the arts

Sharjah Art Foundation’s ice storage facility from the 1970s has been transformed into a cultural center, restaurant, and hotel by 51-1 Arquitectos of Peru.

The location in the town of Kalba on the east coast of the emirate of Sharjah, known as the Kalba Ice Factory, was created to be a one-of-a-kind space for displaying large-scale temporary artworks.

The unusual sawtooth-roofed building, constructed in the 1970s as a fish feed mill and later used to store ice, overlooks Kalba Creek and Al Qurm mangrove marsh, where Hopkins developed the Khor Kalba Turtle Nature Sanctuary.

Sharjah Art Foundation acquired it in 2015 and recently transformed it into a permanent cultural facility.

The sawtooth-shaped warehouse with an open concrete structure and corrugated metal roof was restored to its original condition and now serves as the primary arts area.

Beside it was erected an expansion with a cafe, restrooms, and six bedroom suites that matched the profile of the previous structure.

A system of walkways, steps, and observation decks connect these locations with views of the creek to the artistic venues.

The studio also created a covered walkway from the building to a restaurant with a single story that views the stream.