Sharjah Architecture Triennial, Civic buildings, Adaptive reuse, Preservation, Sharjah
Al Qassimiyah School in Sharjah

Sharjah Architecture Triennial to take place across two regenerated civic buildings

The Sharjah Architecture Triennial will launch its inaugural edition in November this year, taking place across two civic buildings in Sharjah as part of the platform’s commitment towards adaptive reuse and preservation of modernist architecture.

The two recently decommissioned buildings include Al-Qasimiyah School and the old Al Jubail Vegetable Market, both of which act as examples of 1970s and 80s architecture found across Sharjah and the wider UAE.

Architecture from this area is ‘undervalued’ according to Mona El Mousfy, advisor to the triennial. Read our full interview with El Mousfy here. 

During an interview with Middle East Architect, she said: “What happens here is that when a building is no longer structurally sound, the municipality makes the decision to demolish it, and up until now the architecture from the 1960s, 70s and 80s was not considered very valuable,” adding that government initiatives have until recently prioritised other types of architecture, such as the coral structures found in the Heart of Sharjah.

“Not only is this approach environmentally sustainable, but it also creates a layered architecture in continuous dialogue, building upon the city’s history and memories while responding to contemporary uses and evolving aspirations,” she said during an interview with Architectural Digest Middle East.

The old market building in Sharjah was designed by British engineering consultancy Halcrow Group, who played a vital role in developing the region’s civic infrastructure. It is also symbolic of Sharjah’s history as a trade hub.Al Qassimiyah School, in turn, acts as the Triennial's headquarters.

'Rights of Future Generations’ has been announced as the theme for the first edition, and will be curated by architect and scholar, Adrian Lahoud who is currently Dean of the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art.

The theme will look at how the urban and environmentally-led decisions we make today are passed on from one generation to the next, and how by addressing and reflecting on these decisions, cities can, in turn, create “new social realities”.