Sultan to be Conferred UK’s Prestigious RIBA Fellowship for Contribution to Architecture

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 Recognising his tremendous contribution and lifelong services to architecture, His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, will be conferred the prestigious Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). HH the Ruler of Sharjah will formally receive the Honorary Fellowship at a grand ceremony in London in February, according to a statement by RIBA. The RIBA Honorary Fellowships are awarded annually to people who are not architects but have made a particular contribution to architecture.

The Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects for the Ruler of Sharjah is being seen as a huge honour that recognises and acknowledges the historic journey of a lifetime and extraordinary contribution of the Sharjah leadership to architecture in general and to Arab and Islamic architecture in particular. 

Welcoming the RIBA Honorary Fellowship, Peter Jackson, Architect Advisor in HH Ruler’s Office, said, “This recognition of HH the Ruler of Sharjah’s contribution to architecture is especially appropriate. Since taking over in 1972, HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi has stamped and shaped Sharjah with its own individual character. Through his particular passion for creative design and Islamic architecture, the Ruler has commissioned many of its fine buildings. He closely involves himself with the planning and architecture of the Emirate, providing Sharjah with its own unique and powerful identity within the Arab and Islamic world. As a strong advocate for the conservation of historic buildings and urban centres, the Ruler has enabled Sharjah to retain much of its fine traditional architectural heritage.”

Jackson, a founder member of RIBA’s Gulf Chapter, thanked HH the Ruler of Sharjah for supporting the Institute activities and initiatives in the region saying: “In 2009, HH Ruler of Sharjah issued the Emiri Decree that established the RIBA Gulf Chapter under the patronage of the American University of Sharjah, in recognition of the important contribution the RIBA makes to improving professional education and promoting architectural quality”.  

“The enormity of HH the Ruler’s contribution and vision can be seen throughout the Emirate.  The unique architectural character of modern Sharjah stems directly from the powerful personal vision of His Highness. This has combined all the benefits and functionality of modernism with the Arab-Islamic architectural aesthetic and splendour seen in Sharjah’s mosques, public and government buildings. For this, credit surely goes to HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah,” said Jackson. 

Sumaya Dabbagh, founder of Dubai-based Dabbagh Architects and Chair of RIBA’s Gulf Chapter, said, “It is a great privilege for us to have HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi as an RIBA Honorary Fellow. We are delighted that his support of architectural education and patronage of architectural development in Sharjah has been recognised by this award, especially as this comes at a time when we are seeing an increasing relevance for RIBA in the region.”

In the words of His Highness himself, defying the prevailing trend in much of the region, Sharjah consciously and deliberately chose not to create a concrete urban jungle but develop a well-thought out and well-planned Emirate and community that remains rooted in and celebrates its proud Arab and Islamic traditions and heritage not just in its outlook but physical appearance and character as well.  It’s hardly surprising then Sharjah today remains so uniquely distinct and traditional in its architecture and appearance yet with all modern, world-class infrastructure and amenities for its people.



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