Sharjah: His Highness Shaikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohamad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, will be conferred the prestigious honorary fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at a grand ceremony in London in February.

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 RIBA 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 Shaikh Sultan’s Office, said, “This recognition of Shaikh Sultan’s contribution to architecture is especially appropriate. Since taking over in 1972, Shaikh Sultan has stamped and shaped Sharjah with its own individual character.”

Jackson added that through Shaikh Sultan’s particular passion for creative design and Islamic architecture, he has commissioned many of Sharjah’s fine buildings.

“Shaikh Sultan 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.”

In the words of Shaikh Sultan 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.