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The Beauty of Impermanence: An Architecture of Adaptability is the name and theme of the upcoming Sharjah Architecture Triennial, which aims to explore connections between scarcity, creativity, and design. It was announced today by Hoor Al Qasimi, President of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, and Tosin Oshinowo, Curator of the second edition. The title alludes to how shortage problems in the Global South have spawned a culture of creativity, collaboration, re-use, and adaptation. The Triennial, which starts in November 2023, will examine how we may refocus global debates to create a more sustainable, resilient, and egalitarian future via the prism of these various modes of practice.
The widely held belief that famous pieces of architecture must endure throughout time has caused an erosion of the distinctive and adaptable architectural practices of the Global South that directly respond to culture, site, and climate. Although historically overlooked in favor of the “architecture of forever” of the Global North, these approaches—shaped by the rhythms of daily life, the environment, and the availability of materials—offer architectural solutions for the various difficulties facing our populations.
Elaborating on the relevance of the theme for Sharjah, Oshinowo said: “Sharjah is an incredible venue to explore impermanence, adaptability, and scarcity as they relate to the future of architecture—both because of the natural extreme climate conditions and because of the overwhelming presence of impermanence in civic status. It confronts head-on the challenge of extreme climate within its traditional architecture and the inevitability of human transience that is easily ignored in many other areas of the world. A study of Sharjah provides the foundation to explore approaches to architecture that prioritize an understanding of impermanence, an embrace of the inevitability of scarcity, and a psychology of the collective that is essential for our shared future globally.”
Bringing together a range of voices and perspectives, Oshinowo—Lagos-based Nigerian architect and founder of cmDesign Atelier—has put together a curatorial advisory board of international architects, artists and designers to enrich her curatorial vision for 2023. The board includes: Hoor Al Qasimi, President of Sharjah Architecture Triennial and President & Director of Sharjah Art Foundation; Beatrice Galilee, co-founder and executive director of a new platform for architecture and design discourse, The World Around; Mariam Kamara, founder of architecture and research firm Atelier Masomi in Niger; Rahul Mehrotra, founder of architecture firm RMA Architects of Mumbai + Boston and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design; Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, British-Nigerian artist; and Paulo Tavares, Brazilian architect and urbanist. Their expertise and insight will augment Oshonowo’s vision for the Triennial’s scope as a platform for discourse on alternative strategies that are urgently required, as architecture strives for a better future.
See here for Tosin Oshinowo’s full curatorial statement.
About Sharjah Architecture Triennial
Sharjah Architecture Triennial (SAT), established in 2018 by Khalid Al Qasimi, is a venue for architecture and urbanism in a region spanning from West Asia to South Asia and the African continent. With a physical base in Sharjah and the United Arab Emirates, SAT seeks to involve a variety of audiences and stakeholders in a community dialogue on architecture at the neighborhood, city, and regional levels. Along with its international editions, institutional research and programming encourage ongoing critical reflection through exhibitions, books, and public programs. SAT is dedicated to adopting a multidisciplinary strategy that promotes comprehension of the function of architecture in a broader context, including its relationship to social and environmental challenges.
United Arab Emirates