The Sharjah Triennial will take place across several prominent sites of the emirate. Image Credit: Supplied

To be staged in November, the inaugural edition of Sharjah Architecture Triennial will reinforce the UAE’s repute as the annual meeting in the Middle East for the regional and international design community.

Founded by Shaikh Khalid Al Qasimi, chairman of the Sharjah Urban Planning Council, the inaugural edition of the Triennial is slated to be held across multiple sites in the emirate over the course of three months. Through dialogue on contemporary architecture and urbanism, the programme hopes to address the stereotypes applied to the region and its architecture.

Bringing together architecture practitioners, scholars, government bodies and the general public in a environment that facilitates critical thinking and a sense of inquiry about our urban fabric, the Triennial is set to reframe the ongoing conversations about the regional built environment by highlighting the social, economic, cultural and environmental conditions that lend unique context to our region.

Rights of Future Generations

The theme for the inaugural Sharjah Architecture Triennial seeks to question how inheritance, legacy, and the state of the environment are passed from one generation to the next. Exploring how current decisions have long-term intergenerational consequences, Rights of Future Generations, will also address how other expressions of coexistence might challenge dominant perspectives.

The Sharjah Triennial will take place across several prominent sites of the emirate. Image Credit: Supplied

With Sharjah serving as its primary field of research, the Triennial will bring together an emerging generation of professionals who will have an impact on the urban fabrics of the future — architects, urban designers, planners, scholars and artists — from across the Middle East, North and South Africa, South and South East Asia, to respond to the unique challenges and opportunities faced by our generation. By including their diaspora in the discussion, the Triennial holds the potential for presenting not only alternative concepts of architecture and the environment, but also challenge the existing social set-up and the sense of community that is passed on, generation to generation.

“Sharjah Architecture Triennial will offer an accessible platform for critical reflection on the social and cultural issues that we face at both regional and international levels,” said Shaikh Khalid Al Qasimi. “Through the creative processor this exchange, we believe that we can arrive at new ways of designing cities.”

Preparing for the November 2019 opening, research is being conducted in three areas: housing, education and environment. Leading up to the inauguration, the Triennial will hold a series of public programmes to help establish conversations that bring together the community. The first programme, a panel discussion titled ‘Shifting Morphology of Gulf Cities’ will be held on April 7 in Sharjah.

Meet the Curator

Adrian Lahoud, Dean of the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art, London, will serve at the curator for the first edition. An internationally recognised architect and urban designer, Lahoud’s background as a researcher and experience as an educator gives him the a unique understanding of the impact of our built environment.

Adrian Lahoud Image Credit: Supplied

He has also served as Studio Master at the Architectural Associatoion London, the Director of the MA programme in Research Architecture and a Research Fellow in the Forensic Architecture ERC project at Goldsmiths, University of London.

In 2018, Lahoud presented his latest work, ‘Climate Crimes’ at the V & A as part of the exhibition The Future Starts Here. A specialist in post-colonial nation-building projects and climate research in the context of the global south, he has invited speakers Dalal Alsayer (University of Pennsylvania), Samia Henni (Cornell University) and Marina Tabassum, the founder of Marina Tabassum Architects and 2016 winner of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture to explore how contexts in the region open the possibility of relationships between inhabitants and their ecologies.