Commissioned by the Sharjah Art Foundation, Peru-based 51-1 Arquitectos has refurbished an abandoned ice factory and transformed it into an art space and hospitality venue.
Named Kalba Ice Factory, it is now a permanent cultural venue that 51-1 Arquitectos have revitalized with the minimum level of intervention to allow temporary art installations in its naves without losing its powerful spatial qualities as an industrial ruin.
“Its unique natural location combined with the powerful presence of its original building makes it quite unique,” says 51-1 Arquitectos co-founder César Becerra.
“It provides artists with a rich context and the possibility of integrating art and public space.”
“In order to retain as much patina as possible, all design-oriented decisions were aimed at leaving the factory ‘as is’ as much as possible,” explains Becerra.
“Of course, the building required insulation for comfort and art conservation purposes, but it was proposed procuring the least possible intervention. For instance, big AC units were placed on a building on the edge of the plot, so it would not add an additional volume to the existing hangars.”
The project consisting of a series of interventions and the addition of new facilities will turn the whole site of 20,000 sqm into a cultural center, with exhibition and event spaces, workshops, artist residences, and restaurants.
The building has a distinctive saw-tooth-shaped roof, made from corrugated metal and an open concrete frame.
The original warehouse has been converted into the main art space while an extension has been added that matches the roof profile of the original building that consists of a cafe, toilets, and six-bedroom suites.
“Adjacent to the art spaces, the residences copy the factory’s profile, to refrain from adding a new volume profile to the site, facing the view at the same time,” says Becerra.
“Vertical circulations, seating staircases, and peeping windows to the factory’s naves integrate a loop of spaces where a variety of activities can happen. Not all views face the creek though; for instance, there is a seating platform that faces the Hajar mountains on sunset.”
Project: Kalba Ice Factory
Architects: 51-1 Arquitectos
Lead Architect: César Becerra
Design Team: Fernando Puente Arnao, Manuel de Rivero with Karina León, Cristian Zúñiga, Bruce Wong, Giuseli Huaripuma, and Alvaro Orihuela
Photographers: Danko Stjepanovic