The Scroll Unfurls to Celebrate World Book Day

Spiraling upward 120 feet, Gerry Judah’s The Scroll captures the appearance of paper unfurling on a grand scale, a monumental sculpture celebrating the United Arab Emirates coastal city of Sharjah’s designation as the UNESCO World Book Capital 2019.

Erected near the Sharjah University City and Sharjah International Airport, The Scroll stands in front of the site of what is to be the front of the House of Wisdom designed by Foster + Partners, and was designed utilizing a ‘developable surface’ in software, eventually realized using rolled steel plates cut by lasers guided by computer control, then welded together. The finished shape was coated with multiple layers of paint, prepared to weather sandstorms and erosion.

The monument was commissioned by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, Shurooq, engineered by Diales, and built by Rimond. The Scroll is a contemporary interpretation of the ancient Arabic scrolls – a single, spiraling monocoque construction developed by Gerry Judah and his engineers Diales.

The render imagines how the minimalist lines of the House of Wisdom designed by Foster + Partners will be contrasted by the flowing spiral shape of the monument.

I am delighted to have been commissioned to create The Scroll as a monument to stand in front of Sharjah’s new House of Wisdom. The work is inspired by the early form of written word and represents the long-lasting power and significance of books and reading to culture and heritage.

– Gerry Judah, artist

Gregory Han is a Senior Editor at Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at