Location: Khorfakan, Sharjah, UAE
Client: Development of town planning and survey Sharjah
Built- Up Area: 190,000 square feet
Construction Cost: 20,000,000 USD
Starting Date: January 2020
Completion Date: October 2020
Services Provided: A/E Design and supervision(Design-Build Project)
2020 - Khorfakkan Amphitheatre is a world class open venue located in khorfakkan, Sharjah, UAE. The vision of the project is based on His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi the ruler of Sharjah to create a landmark around a ceremonial and cultural event represented in an amphitheater carved in one of the exiting Mountains facing the distinguished beach of Khorfakkan.
The concept is to link this architectural landmark to its surrounding context and environment and to create a homogenous project that integrated with mountain topography and introduce the waterfront from the main plaza. This landmark is- in principle-inspired by the architecture and planning of the Roman amphitheaters and mainly the Roman amphitheater in Amman Jordan. The intention was not about making a replica of the past rather than reinventing traditions and celebrating the notion of humanity's multicultural approach in building knowledge throughout history.
The Amphitheatre is designed in the form of a semi-circle to resemble the layout of the Roman amphitheaters, with a diameter of 110 meters, with a total area of 190,000 square feet, and can accommodate 3,600 spectators all around the year. It includes a cooling system that ensures the efficiency of use throughout the year.
The architectural style and image reflect inspirations from both the classic architecture blended in Islamic architecture and enriched with stone facades, arches, and articulated columns. The external and internal facades consist of 234 arches and 295 columns, in addition to a stage and podium with 14 distinctive decorated stone elements. This architectural style is extended to the interior spaces to ensure the spirit continuation and create one project identity.
The design is accompanied by the main axis parallel to the Amphitheatre which inspired by Roman architecture, lined with 22 columns, emphasizing the importance of the Amphitheatre and considering as main and dynamic circulation axis that is connecting the architectural elements and distinguishing the main entrance. The Amphitheatre is also linked to different facilities and services especially the Majlis area, backstage wings & public entrances & lobbies.
The facility also contains a restaurant and cafe that can accommodate more than 80 visitors, and includes an outdoor site that can accommodate more than 30 visitors, a service room, and other facilities to serve visitors.
Innovation & Contribution to the Industry/Community
The design of a Roman amphitheater within a contemporary context and with an Islamic spirit represents the first level of innovation that implied extensive research and design innovation in terms of how to generate such type of architectural style with dynamic balance. Another challenge was to apply the relevant international codes and standards as well as advanced electromechanical systems without compromising the authentic aesthetics of such a historical type of building.
Respecting the context is one of the main design criteria. One of the challenges that DAO faced, was allocating the amphitheater in the mountain and how to create a balance between cut and fill in order to control the cost without affecting the aesthetics and the overall image. Extruding the Amphitheater rows from the mountain’s topography lines then emphasizing them by attaching the entrances reflects one of the Roman Amphitheaters design references.
The innovation of transforming historical building type into a contemporary design with all associated systems and the latest technology of outdoor air-conditioning helped in extending the period of usability of the venue to be almost all over the year.
Keeping up with the latest audiovisual systems and create a complete infrastructure that connects the stage with every space in the amphitheater in addition to public address and security systems.
Khorfakkan Amphitheater is now one of the most famous landmarks and tourist destinations in Sharjah and UAE. This venue enhanced khorfakkan infrastructure and add mesmerizing sculpture with city fabric.
Function and Aesthetic Quality of the Design
The client aims to construct an open theater and upgrade khorfakkan outdoor urban public facilities, waterfront, and landscape area by introducing a modern state of the art, yet authentic cultural statement within Khorfakkan city.
The client was inspired by the Roman architecture in theatres and cultural landmarks, and they were looking for an international Architect/Engineer to implement his vision and turn this dream into reality.
The design goal was to merge the genius loci of the historical buildings and the contemporary design with all associated systems and the latest technology of outdoor air-conditioning helped in extending the period of usability of the venue to be almost all over the year.
Dar Al Omran has been assigned and worked closely with the client to develop the Amphitheater’s concept and convert it from just a historical place to a contemporary building with all support facilities and the latest technology. Many layers of architectural styles traced in creating the facades and interior spaces starting from Roman, Islamic, and Traditional architecture, this celebration of architecture gave the project its unique identity.
The amphitheater design took into consideration local regulations and codes to ensure safety and accessibility for all users. Moreover, Dar Al Omran studied general sustainability principles and incorporated them into all design services.
DAO scope extended to cover the surrounded landscape areas including the main plaza and to link the project with the next waterfall project to ensure the quality of design and create one identity for the whole project.