Second edition opening programme

Second edition opening programme

Sharjah Architecture Triennial

November 3, 2023
Second edition opening programme
Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2023
November 11–13, 2023
Sharjah Architecture Triennial
United Arab Emirates
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The second edition of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, The Beauty of Impermanence, launches to the public next week with a three-day opening programme of talks, tours, screenings, workshops, and performances. Taking place from November 11–13, this programme of events will immerse visitors in a dynamic, city-wide dialogue around the potential of contextual solutions, resource sharing and waste reuse to change the future of architecture and design globally.

Curated by Lagos-based architect Tosin Oshinowo, this edition will spotlight creative, innovative and resourceful design solutions borne from conditions of scarcity across the Global South, exemplified in the work of 29 participants. The programme will begin with a keynote conversation between Lesley Lokko (curator, architect and Founder of the African Futures Institute in Accra) and Rahul Mehrotra (Founder of RMA Architects and Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design), reflecting on architects and designers who have navigated contextual constraints to turn scarcity into opportunity. This recurring theme forms the basis of a major new publication which accompanies the Triennial, Field Notes on Scarcity, which features poems, essays and dialogues by 60 scholars and practitioners from across the Global South and will be launched in a presentation moderated by its co-editor Julie Cirelli.

A series of panel talks will invite SAT participants to discuss their projects, with forums revolving around the three curatorial strands that underpin Oshinowo’s theme. These include discussions around contextual-based approaches to architecture, the importance of embracing the life cycle of materials, and the socio-economic significance of dust. These will be moderated by Matthew Barac (Professor of Architecture & Urban Culture at London Metropolitan University), Seetal Solanki (Founder and Director of Ma-tt-er) and Mpho Matsipa (Visiting Assistant Professor at GSAPP, Columbia University), respectively.

Introducing visitors to the key venues of the Triennial, Oshinowo will lead a curatorial walkthrough at the Al Qasimiyah School, with other guided tours taking place across the weekend. These include the exhibition by Hunnarshala Foundation, led by founder Sandeep Virmani, and the installation by Cave_bureau at Sharjah’s old Slaughterhouse, which reflects on states of impermanence through ambient sounds and projections. An offsite visit to the abandoned Al Madam village will also invite visitors to discover the Concrete Tent (2023) installation by DAAR—Sandi Hilal & Alessandro Petti. Originally sited at the Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, it will provide a space for shared reflection on the condition of permanent temporariness experienced by today’s migrant populations and a refuge for collective mourning. The installation will be open to the public over the three days of the public programme, and will be accompanied by a three-act performance entitled Osagbaye (spirits occupying worldly spaces), assembled by SAT participant Bubu Ogisi.

A workshop on upcycling techniques will be led by Thomas Egoumenides, whose installation Ship of Theseus (2023) harnesses the aesthetic potential of discarded materials, while Collab: Henry Glogau & Aleksander Kongshaug, will host a workshop on salt air filters. Focussed on low-tech, eco-conscious, and adaptable solutions, their installation Resource Autonomy (2023)—made up of three bamboo pavilions—will demonstrate the potential of resource creation from environmental challenges, such as using solar desalination for clean water and salt brine for air purification.

Advocating for design that embraces ecology, a lecture event will explore the connection between humans and non-human forms of life, featuring performances that incorporate sound, visuals, and the body. The Mirage City Cinema will host a screening of Tropical Modernism: Architecture and Power in West Africa (2023), a film offering insight into the interplay between modern architecture and colonialism in newly independent Ghana, accompanied by a panel discussion moderated by Olorunfemi Adewuyi (Architectural Associate at Studio Contra). Wale Lawal (Founder of The Republic) will also moderate a talk on the power of the imagination to re-envision the future of architecture and design.

Oshinowo commented: “The importance of embracing context in design and architecture has informed and inspired my practice for over a decade, and I’m delighted to introduce this incredible range of practitioners who are guided by similar principles and ideas. At this critical moment for the planet and its population, I hope that visitors come away with a sense of hope and possibility as we celebrate creative, innovative and solution-orientated approaches and communities from across the Global South, and their potential to change the future of how we live.”

Other speakers over the course of the three-day programme will include Esra Akcan (Professor of Architectural Theory at Cornell University), Vartan Avakian (artist), Nana Biamah-Ofosu (architect and Lecturer at Kingston University), Sara Bokr (architect), Ester Carro (architect), Aziza Chaouni (architect and Associate Professor at University of Toronto), Beatriz Colomina (architecture historian), Oyindamola Fakeye (curator and Director at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos), Hélène Frichot (Professor of Architecture and Philosophy at Melbourne School of Design), Elahe Karimnia (Senior Lecturer in Critical Urban Practice at UWE Bristol), Reem Khorshid (architect and researcher), Marwa Yousif Koheji (Postdoctoral Fellow at New York University Abu Dhabi), Raafat Majzoub (architect, author and artist), Bushra Mohamed (architect and Director of Msoma Architects), and Adeyemo Shokunbi (architect and Director at PatrickWaheed Design Consultancy).

The opening programme is free and open to the public. Please note that tours and workshops may need to be booked in advance.

Press office
Pelham Communications, T +44 (0) 20 8969 3959 / @pelhamcomms
Laura Callendar: laura [​at​]
Rel Hayman: rel [​at​]

Sharjah Architecture Triennial, T +971 50 261 4423 / @sharjaharchitecture
Anum Laghari: anum [​at​]

About Sharjah Architecture Triennial
Founded in 2018 by Khalid Al Qasimi, Sharjah Architecture Triennial (SAT) is a platform for architecture and urbanism in a region that extends from West Asia to South Asia and the African continent. Physically anchored in Sharjah and the United Arab Emirates, SAT aims to engage diverse audiences and stakeholders in a collective conversation on architecture at the neighbourhood, city, and regional levels. Institutional research and programming support on-going critical reflection through exhibitions, publications, and public programmes in tandem with its international editions. SAT is committed to pursuing a multi-disciplinary approach that fosters an understanding of the broader role of architecture, including its relation to social and environmental issues.

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November 3, 2023

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