Architecture, Government of Sharjah, MENASA, Sharjah, Sharjah Architecture Triennial, Sharjah Urban Planning Council, United Arab Emirates, Urban planning, Urbanism

Sharjah Architecture Triennial to become first international platform on architecture in MENASA region

Plans for the launch of Sharjah Architecture Triennial, a non-profit initiative funded by the Government of Sharjah, has been revealed, set to take place at the end of 2019, focusing on encouraging dialogue on architecture and urbanism in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.

The event will be held in multiple sites across the city over the course of three months, with each edition involving a curatorial program of exhibitions, urban interventions, conferences, and public talks with local, regional, and international architectural practitioners and researchers.

Founded by Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi, chairman of Sharjah Urban Planning Council, Sharjah Architecture Triennial will encourage dialogue about the built environment of the MENASA region, addressing its social, economic, environmental, and cultural context.

“This is a crucial moment in the understanding and development of architecture and urban planning of the MENASA region,” said Al Qasimi.

“The regional urban landscape is evolving at a tremendous speed and impacting how urban dwellers interact amongst themselves. 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. Through the creative process of this exchange, we believe that we can arrive at new ways of designing cities.”

The event will include not only architects and architecture professionals, but scholars, government bodies, students, as well as the general public, and is organised in partnership with the College of Architecture, Art and Design at the American University of Sharjah (CAAD at AUS) and Sharjah Directorate of Town Planning and Survey (SDTPS).

In the lead up to the first edition of the event, Sharjah Architecture Triennial will hold a panel discussion entitled ‘Shifting Morphology of Gulf Cities’ on April 7 at the Maraya Art Centre in Al Qasba, Sharjah.

It will explore the effects of Khaleeji populations’ movement to rapidly growing modern cities and away from the dense coastal settlements, where their social and cultural identities were rooted.

It opens with a conversation between Khalid Bin Butti Al Muhairi, chairman of SDTPS, and Maysa Sabah, urban planner, housing specialist and advisor to Affordable Housing Institute. The panelists will be joined by Bahraini architect Ali Karimi, Kuwaiti architect Hamed Bukhamseen, and associate professor of CAAD at AUS,  Rafael Pizarro. The panel duscussion will be moderated by Varkii Pallathucheril, professor and dean of CAAD at AUS.

Earlier last month, Sharjah-based Fikra announced plans to launch the first graphic design biennial in the Middle East.

Photograph by Ieva Saudargaitė.