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Material Matters: Experiments in the Built Environment presented by EUNIC, Art Jameel, and waiwai

October 15, 2022, 2pm

Key thinkers in architecture, design, and the visual arts come together for the symposium “Material Matters: Experiments in the Built Environment” to discuss how advances in materials and design are influencing the future of our cities during a period of environmental change. With support from the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth, the symposium was commissioned by EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture) and conceptualized by waiwai and Art Jameel as venue partners.

Architects, artists, and designers are increasingly turning to local vernacular architecture and landscapes as sources of knowledge and renewable resources in response to a global urge to minimize waste production and emission footprints. They want to design context-responsive habitats that take into account the local climatic conditions, topography, and cultural customs. Some of their methods include building with salt, using algae as building materials, and using the city as a classroom.

Speakers at this symposium call for a return to the familiar and the local, centered around four key strategies: enabling sustainable production through bioregions and local materials, supporting civic engagement through new urban pedagogies, reflecting historical narratives through the built environment, and influencing global expertise through regional design.

The speakers are architect Daniel Bell (Atelier LUMA); architect, artist, and activist Axel Timm (raumlabor); artist Jasmin Werner; designers Tymon Hogenelst and Jesse van der Ploeg (Studio Wild); curator of the National Pavilion UAE La Biennale di Venezia at the Biennale Architettura 2023, Faysal Tabbarah (American University of Sharjah); and NYU Abu Dhabi professors and members of the NYUAD Anthropocene Research Kitchen Katia Arfara and Dale Hudson.

EUNIC, The European network of institutions involved in cross-cultural relations is known as the European Union National Institutes for Culture. With a network of 136 clusters and the help of its partners, they bring European cultural collaboration to life in more than a hundred nations around the world. They do this by utilizing the extensive knowledge of their members from all EU Member States and associate countries. EUNIC is a strategic partner of the EU and promotes the importance of culture in international relations. It also participates actively in the development of European cultural policy. A platform for knowledge exchange and capacity building among its partners and members, EUNIC.

Art Jameel aids artistic groups and creative individuals. The autonomous organization was established and is funded by the Jameel family philanthropies. It has offices in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and operates internationally. The programs of Art Jameel, which span exhibitions, commissions, research, learning, and community development, are built on a vibrant concept of the arts as essential to life and available to everyone. With the help of digital initiatives, partnerships with significant institutional partners, and a global network of practitioners, Art Jameel’s two institutions—the innovative Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, UAE, and the dedicated complex for the arts and creativity known as Hayy Jameel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia—are complemented.

Waiwai is a studio that specializes in architectural, landscape, urban, interior, and graphic design. Waiwai, an organization run by Wael Al Awar and Kazuma Yamao, uses design to address social, environmental, and technological issues. Waiwai’s research focuses on methods and resources that could create a new language for the climate issue, one that reacts to many cultural contexts and the urgency of the environment.

Jameel Arts Centre
PO Box 212898
Jaddaf Waterfront

T 04 873 9800
[email protected]