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2023 Sharjah Architecture Triennial

Reflecting on issues of scarcity in the Global South this year's theme is "The Beauty of Impermanence: An Architecture of Adaptability."

Image Credit: Al Borde - Las Tres Esperanzas, © JAG Studio

Mark your calendars, architecture enthusiasts, for the highly anticipated 2023 Sharjah Architecture Triennial (SAT) - The Beauty of Impermanence: An Architecture of Adaptability. This second edition of SAT, curated by Tosin Oshinowo, is scheduled to run from November 11th, 2023, to March 10th, 2024.

This year's theme focuses on the Global South, where scarcity has been a catalyst for a rich culture of re-use, re-appropriation, innovation, collaboration, and adaptation. The 2023 SAT aims to catalyze a global conversation shift towards sustainability, resilience, and equity. Hoor Al Qasimi, the President of Sharjah Architecture Triennial (SAT), and curator, Tosin Oshinowo, have announced the list of participants, which includes prominent names such as Al Borde, Cave_bureau, DAAR (Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti), Ola Uduku & Michael Collins, Limbo Accra, Miriam Hillawi Abraham, MOE+ Art Architecture (MOE+AA), Nifemi Marcus-Bello, Sandra Poulson, Thao Nguyen Phan, Wallmakers, Yara Sharif & Nasser Golzari, and Yussef Agbo-Ola.

Image Credit: Al Borde - Las Tres Esperanzas, © JAG Studio

The selected participants are expected to offer fresh perspectives on how innovative design solutions can realign global conversations toward sustainability, resilience, and equity. These will take shape as public installations to collaborative projects, all deeply rooted in Sharjah's rich cultural and historical context. From the transformative response to incomplete spaces by Limbo Accra to experimental preservation projects by DAAR—Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti, every contribution reflects the profound theme of impermanence and adaptation. Exploring the relationship between materials, context, and landscape Sandra Poulson's installation will consider the ever-present dust in Luanda and its reflections on the city's economic, social, and cultural framework. Ola Uduku & Michael Collins will present the environmentally-conscious explorations of British-Nigerian architect Alan Vaughan-Richards, in the canon of West African Tropical Modernism.

Environmental concerns also take center stage as we witness a fabric-based temple by Yussef Agbo-Ola, designed to honor non-human life and endangered species. MOE+ Art Architecture (MOE+AA) will create an ecological pause within Sharjah's industrial environment. Cave_bureau will transport us through time, expanding their research program to occupy a disused slaughterhouse. They will project the geometries of a Neolithic cave, bridging the gaps between these two geologies of varying impermanence. Wallmakers will push the boundaries of material use with a naturally-sculpted pavilion, reimagining the possibilities of building with sand. Thao Nguyen Phan's film will take us on a journey through the Mekong Delta, juxtaposing past and present violence and destruction with scenes from Sharjah. Nifemi Marcus-Bello will present an adaptable pavilion, a testament to local weaving techniques, housing explorations of indigenous contemporary design solutions emerging from Lagos. Yara Sharif & Nasser Golzari will challenge the commodification of resources and consumers by assembling discarded, disparate components. The Museum of Artifice, by multi-disciplinary Ethiopian designer Miriam Hillawi Abraham, will present a life-sized facsimile of a Lalibela church façade, nestled in Sharjah's old Al Jubail Vegetable Market. Lastly, Al Borde, an Ecuadorian studio, will envision a shaded space using sustainable, locally-sourced materials that engage directly with the outdoor architecture of Al Qasimiyah School.

Image Credit: Al Borde - Las Tres Esperanzas, © JAG Studio

Founded in 2018 by Khalid Al Qasimi, the Sharjah Architecture Triennial (SAT) serves as a dynamic platform for architecture and urbanism, spanning from West Asia to South Asia and the African continent. SAT anchors itself physically in Sharjah and the UAE while engaging a global audience in conversations about architecture at multiple levels. Through exhibitions, publications, and public programs, SAT fosters critical reflection on architecture's role in addressing social and environmental issues.