Amin Alsaden, Architecture, Sharjah, Sharjah Architecture Triennial

Architecture scholar Amin Alsaden appointed as director of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial

Architectural scholar and practitioner Amin Alsaden has been appointed as the director of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial.

According to a release, Alsaden will contribute to the Triennial’s “growth, sustainability, long-term mission”, as well as launch a research program, which is one of the organisation’s core initiatives.

The Sharjah Architecture Triennial is the first major platform dedicated to architecture and urbanism in the Middle East, East and North Africa, and South Asia.

“My work has explored the global exchanges of ideas and expertise across cultural boundaries and rethinking previously imposed divisions, between the Muslim/Arab contexts and other geographies, centers and peripheries, and traditional and modern arts,” Alsaden said.

“Through my research on Baghdad, I discovered the powerful mediatory role this region can play. One of our ambitions for the Triennial is that it serves as a critical forum for similar re-evaluations, and for reflection on the complex and at times dissonant dimensions of our experience of the built environment today.”

Alsaden also added that he has a “special relationship with Sharjah”, explaing that his family had moved to the emirate when he was young, where he received a grant from the Ruler Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi to continue his higher education at a local university. Alsaden completed a Bachelor in Architecture and a Minor in Interior Design at AUS.

“I am thrilled to be back, and I look forward to making a strong contribution to the city that launched my career,” he said.

The architect will work closely with the Triennial’s curators towards realising projects in Sharjah, as well as overseeing programming and related activities. He will establish  external relations with local, regional, and international partners.

About Amin Alsaden

Alsaden received a PhD in architectural history from Harvard University, where he was previously graduated with a Master of Arts degree. He also holds a Post-Professional Master in Architecture from Princeton University.

His dissertation discusses how Baghdad became a locus of architectural and artistic encounters in the years following World War II, contributing to the transformation of these disciplines globally, all the while engendering unique local movements. The history of modern architecture and art, especially in the Global South, is among Alsaden’s research interests, which also include politics and aesthetics, questions of regionalism and Orientalism in architecture, as well as governance and space in conflict zones.

Alsaden has taught at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, and the College of Architecture, Art and Design, American University of Sharjah, and served as a design critic at various other institutions. His professional experience includes working at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture and MVRDV in the Netherlands, and Woods Bagot in the United Arab Emirates.

In an interview with Mona El Mousfy, advisor to the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, she spoke about what audiences can expect from the Triennial, as well as its aim to preserve “under-valued” buildings  in Sharjah. 

The organisation also recently announced that Adrian Lahoud, dean of the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art, has been appointed as curator of the first edition of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial.