The beauty of impermanence: an architecture of adaptability to the SAT

Inheriting Moisture by Marina Tabassum.

Mohammad Yusuf, Feature Writer

The Chairman of the Sharjah Architecture Triennale (SAT), Hoor Al Qasimi, and the curator of its second edition, Tosin Oshinowo, announced the title and theme of the 2023 Triennale as The Beauty of Impermanence: An Architecture of adaptability.

It will explore the links between rarity, creativity and design; the title refers to how scarcity issues in the Global South have created a culture of reuse, reappropriation, innovation, collaboration and adaptation. Oshinowo says he “embraces the region’s under-celebrated traditions.”

The triennale will explore how to reorient global conversations, to create a more sustainable, resilient and equitable future. Elaborating on the theme’s relevance to Sharjah, Oshinowo said, “Sharjah is an incredible place to explore impermanence, adaptability and rarity as it relates to the future of architecture – both due to the conditions natural climatic extremes and due to the overwhelming presence of impermanence in civic status.


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“It confronts head-on the challenge of extreme climate within its traditional architecture and the inevitability of human transience, which is easily ignored in many other parts of the world. A study of Sharjah provides the basis for exploring approaches to architecture that prioritize an understanding of impermanence, an embrace of the inevitability of scarcity, and a psychology of the collective that is essential for our common future in the world. global scale. Bringing together a range of voices and perspectives, Oshinowo – a Lagos-based Nigerian architect and founder of cmDesign Atelier – has assembled a curatorial advisory board of international architects, artists and designers, to propel her curatorial vision.

The board includes Hoor Al Qasimi, who is also chairman and director of the Sharjah Art Foundation; Beatrice Galilee, co-founder and executive director of a new architecture and design discourse platform, The World Around; Mariam Kamara, Founder of the architecture and research firm Atelier Masomi in Niger; Rahul Mehrotra, founder of RMA Architects of Mumbai + Boston and chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design; Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, British-Nigerian artist; and Paulo Tavares, Brazilian architect and urban planner.

Structure 1 Platforms by Dogma.

SAT, founded in 2018 by Khalid Al Qasimi, is a platform for architecture and urban planning in the region that stretches from West Asia to South Asia and the African continent. Rooted in Sharjah and the United Arab Emirates, it aims to engage diverse audiences and stakeholders in a collective conversation about architecture at the neighborhood, city and regional levels.

Al Qasimi has continually expanded the reach of the Sharjah Art Foundation over its 10-year history, to include major exhibitions that have toured internationally. In 2003, she co-organized the Sharjah Biennale 6 and has since continued as director of the Biennale. Under his leadership, the Sharjah Biennale has become an internationally recognized platform for contemporary artists, curators and cultural producers.

She was elected President of the International Biennial Association (IBA) in 2017, an appointment which moved the IBA headquarters to Sharjah. She is also President of the Africa Institute, Sharjah.

Oshinowo has worked on a number of civic, commercial and residential projects in Nigeria. She is renowned for her knowledge of socially responsible approaches to architecture, design and urban planning.

His main designs include a project with the United Nations Development Program to build a brand new community in northern Nigeria for a village displaced by Boko Haram and the Maryland Mall in Lagos.

She partnered with Lexus for conceptual design explorations for Design Miami/2020 and co-curated the second Lagos Biennale in 2019. Oshinowo is a registered architect in Nigeria and a Fellow of the Royal Institute of the British Architects.

Galilee is a London-born curator, writer and cultural advisor, internationally recognized for her expertise in global contemporary architecture and design. She is the author of Radical Architecture of the Future and was the first curator of contemporary architecture and design at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Kamara is a Nigerian architect. She studied architecture at the University of Washington and in 2014 founded atelier masōmī, an architecture and research practice that tackles public, cultural, residential, commercial and urban design projects.

The company is based in Niamey, with a design studio in New York. His completed projects include the Hikma Community Complex, a library and mosque complex, which won two Global LafargeHolcim Awards for Sustainable Architecture.

Mehrotra is an architect, urban planner and educator and is the principal founder of RMA Architects. He has written and lectured extensively on issues related to architecture, conservation, urban planning and design in Mumbai and India.

In 2015, RMA Architects completed the “Lab of the Future” at the Novartis campus in Basel, Switzerland, and was a finalist in an international design competition for the Museum of Modern Art in Sydney.

Shonibare is a British-Nigerian artist based in London. Her interdisciplinary practice interprets Western art history and literature to question the validity of contemporary cultural and national identities in the context of globalization.

His works are in notable museum collections, including the Tate Collection, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art.

Tavares’ practice lies at the frontiers between architecture, visual cultures and advocacy. Her work targets environmental justice and counter-hegemonic narratives. He is the author of several books questioning the colonial legacies of modernity, including recently Des-Habitat (2019) and Lucio Costa era Racista? (2022).

Photos courtesy of Sharjah Architecture Triennial

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