The eye-catching architectural style of the late Zaha Hadid continues to make waves across the Arab world, with a new mixed-use development receiving the go-ahead for the city of Sharjah in the UAE. Designed to mimic a water-droplet falling to the ground, the Aljada Central Hub will feature a central observation tower surrounded by buildings and canopies shaped to create a hospitable microclimate in the harsh Arabian desert.

Local property developer Arada held a design competition for Aljada Central Hub, which will cover 1.9 million square feet in Sharjah, the UAE's third most populous city and declared the Cultural Capital of the Arab World by UNESCO in 1998.

"Zaha Hadid Architects is globally renowned for forward-thinking and transformational urban design," says HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Arada. "While all of the companies in this design competition offered outstanding designs, Zaha Hadid Architects' integrated design approach matched our vision for Aljada's Central Hub as an interconnected destination. This approach is synonymous with Arada's mission to develop rewarding and engaging communities, building the Sharjah of tomorrow."

The water-droplet-inspired design sees a cluster of elliptically shaped buildings stretch outwards from the tower and centerpiece of development, (figuratively speaking, where the impact point of the water striking the ground would be). These structures are shaped in a way that will encourage the flow of winds into the surrounding public spaces and courtyards to keep them cooler in the summer, with tensile canopies sheltering native flora in the gardens below.

The AED$24 billion (US$6.5 billion) development will be constructed in phases beginning next year. The first phase will aim to create a family destination with an adventure activity area, food markets and outdoor event spaces, with the entire complex slated for completion in 2025.