Adrian Lahoud, Architecture, MENASA, Sharjah, Sharjah Architecture Triennial, Urbanism

Theme announced for Sharjah Architecture Triennial

‘Rights of Future Generations’ has been announced as the theme for the first edition of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, 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”.

“Rights of Future Generations is an invitation to radically rethink fundamental questions about architecture and its power to create and sustain alternative modes of existence. The last decades have seen a massive expansion in rights, yet this expansion has failed to address long-standing challenges around environmental change and inequality. A focus on rights to health, education, and housing as individual rights has obscured collective rights such as rights of nature and environmental rights,” said Lahoud.

“Rights of Future Generations questions how inheritance, legacy, and the state of the environment are passed from one generation to the next, how present decisions have long-term inter-generational consequences, and how other expressions of co-existence, including indigenous ones, might challenge dominant western perspectives.

“Turning to alternative concepts of architecture and the environment, the Sharjah Architecture Triennial will focus on moments where experiments with architectural and institutional forms collaborate to generate new social realities. Architecture’s power is fundamentally propositional and pedagogical. Design is an opportunity to bring alternative modes of existence into being, including new concepts of what buildings, cities, landscapes, and territories are. In order to do that effectively, architecture has to find ways of working alongside institutions that are able to structure the protocols, habits and rituals that organize lives according to these new ideas.”

With this theme in mind, and with the wider goal of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, a platform will be created to address topics like fragmented archives, travel restrictions, as well as absences of institutional support – laying down groundwork for a future generation of architects, scholars, and planners.

The theme was announced during the Vernissage of the Venice Biennale, with the event planned for November 2019, running over a course of three months, involving the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia region.