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Sharjah Architecture Triennial News

Amin Alsaden appointed as the Director for UAE Architecture Exhibition and Event

Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2023 News, UAE

2 Jul 2018

Sharjah Architecture Triennial Director News

Location: Sharjah, UAE

Amin Alsaden appointed as the Director of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial

Photograph: Amin Alsaden, Director of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial:

Amin Alsaden, Director of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial
image courtesy of S.A.T.

2nd July 2018 – Amin Alsaden has been appointed the Director of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, the first major platform dedicated to architecture and urbanism in the Middle East, East and North Africa, and South Asia. Bringing a depth of experience to the position as an architectural scholar and practitioner, Alsaden will contribute to the organization’s growth, sustainability, long-term mission, and launch one of the Triennial’s core initiatives: a research program.

Sharjah Architecture Triennial UAE
Photograph: Drone image of aerial view from Al Sharq Street overlooking Khalid Port, Sharjah

Alsaden will work closely with the Triennial’s selected curators toward realizing and anchoring their projects in Sharjah, and complementing the organization’s own vision and gradual evolution. He will also oversee programming and related activities, as well as outreach and external relations with local, regional, and international partners.

Sharjah Architecture Triennial UAE
King Faisal Mosque, King Abdul Aziz Street, Sharjah, Office of Technical & Architectural Engineering & Consultancy, 1987

Alsaden received a PhD in architectural history from Harvard University, where he was previously awarded a Master of Arts degree, and holds a Post-Professional Master in Architecture from Princeton University. His dissertation took as its subject the manifold ways in which Baghdad became a locus of architectural and artistic encounters in the years following World War II, contributing to the transformation of these disciplines globally, all the while engendering unique local movements.

The history of modern architecture and art, especially in the Global South, is among Alsaden’s research interests, which also include politics and aesthetics, questions of regionalism and Orientalism in architecture, governance and space in conflict zones.

Sharjah Architecture Triennial UAE
Street view of King Faisal Mosque, King Abdul Aziz Street, Sharjah, Office of Technical & Architectural Engineering & Consultancy, 1987.

Alsaden has taught at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, and the College of Architecture, Art and Design, American University of Sharjah, and served as a design critic at various other institutions. His professional experience includes working at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture and MVRDV in the Netherlands, and Woods Bagot in the United Arab Emirates.

Sharjah Architecture Triennial UAE
photo : Sharjah National Travel & Tourist Agency (SNTTA), Al Arouba Street, Sharjah, Architect Anas Wasouf, 1976

Alsaden commented: “My work has explored the global exchanges of ideas and expertise across cultural boundaries and rethinking previously imposed divisions, between the Muslim/Arab contexts and other geographies, centers and peripheries, and traditional and modern arts. Through my research on Baghdad, I discovered the powerful mediatory role this region can play. One of our ambitions for the Triennial is that it serves as a critical forum for similar re-evaluations, and for reflection on the complex and at times dissonant dimensions of our experience of the built environment today.”

“I have a special relationship with Sharjah,” Alsaden added. After his family moved to the city, he stood out as one of the top ten high school students across the country, earning him, among other accolades, a grant from the Ruler Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi toward higher education at a local university. Alsaden pursued a Bachelor in Architecture and a Minor in Interior Design at AUS, graduating with summa cum laude honors. “I am thrilled to be back, and I look forward to making a strong contribution to the city that launched my career.”

Adrian Lahoud
Adrian Lahoud Photograph © Rabee Younes

Sharjah Architecture Triennial

Sharjah Architecture Triennial is a non-profit initiative legally housed under the Sharjah Urban Planning Council and funded by Government of Sharjah. Founding Partners include Sharjah Urban Planning Council; Directorate of Town Planning and Survey; American University of Sharjah, College of Architecture, Art & Design; Sharjah Art Foundation; and Bee’ah (the UAE’s leading integrated environmental & waste management company).

Each edition will be led by a curator who spearheads a core programme of exhibitions, urban interventions, conferences and public talks with the participation of local, regional and international practitioners and researchers.

Twitter: @sharjaharch; Instagram: #sharjaharchitecture; Facebook: sharjaharchitecture

Khalid Al Qasimi

Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi is Chairman of Sharjah Urban Planning Council and the Sharjah Architecture Triennial. Drawing on his academic background in architecture and design at the Architectural Association and Central Saint Martins in London, Al Qasimi oversees integrated inter-governmental efforts to introduce a new vitality into Sharjah’s urban development.

Under his leadership, Sharjah Urban Planning Council ensures that Sharjah and its residents have access to a future with sustainable economic growth and social wellbeing. Building on this foundation, the Sharjah Architecture Triennial serves as the first major platform to address critical reflection on the architecture and urbanism in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region, placing Sharjah’s development in dialogue with the wider region.

29 May 2018

Sharjah Architecture Triennial

Location: Sharjah, UAE

Rights of Future Generations announced as the theme of the first Sharjah Architecture Triennial

In an event held during the Vernissage of the Venice Biennale, curator of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial Adrian Lahoud has announced Rights of Future Generations as the theme of the first edition. Running for three months, the Triennial will open in November 2019 in the Emirate of Sharjah as the first major platform for dialogue on architecture and urbanism focusing on the Middle East, North Africa, East Africa and South Asia.

Emerging as a radical proposal within indigenous struggles and international law, Rights of Future Generations aims to fundamentally challenge the way we think about designing societies and environments with important implications for architecture, urban design, and planning. The exploration of this concept both within the context of the Arabic-speaking world and the global south is at the heart of the inaugural Sharjah Architecture Triennial.

Sharjah Architecture Triennial UAE
View of Sharjah National Travel & Tourist Agency (SNTTA) and Al Saud Co. building, Sharjah.

Adrian Lahoud commented:
“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. At the same time, the conceptualisation of rights as basic standards reduces the diversity of human existence to mere subsistence within a universal minimum.

Sharjah Architecture Triennial UAE
Southeast view of Bank Street buildings, Bank Street, Sharjah, Architects Tecnica y Proyectos (TYPSA), 1977.

These deeply-held preconceptions expressed in very basic ideas like shelter continue to inform how we think about architecture as something that protects us from the environment, or as some primordial need that exists irrespective of the existential differences between societies. The same is true for concepts like habitat that are deployed in the same way and by the same institutions. This colonial legacy has never ceased informing the kinds of desires and ambitions the discipline and the profession authorizes. Any emancipatory project will have to start with this condition.

Sharjah Architecture Triennial UAE

Sharjah Architecture Triennial UAE
photograph : Sharjah National Travel & Tourist Agency (SNTTA), Al Arouba St, Sharjah, Architect Anas Wasouf, 1976

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 intergenerational consequences, and how other expressions of co-existence, including indigenous ones, might challenge dominant western perspectives.

Sharjah Architecture Triennial UAE
picture : Sharjah National Travel & Tourist Agency (SNTTA), Al Arouba St, Sharjah, by Architect Anas Wasouf, taken in 1976

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.”

Sharjah Architecture Triennial UAE
Northwest view of Bank Street buildings, Bank Street, Sharjah, Architects Tecnica y Proyectos (TYPSA), 1977.

The Triennial theme is motivated by the unique circumstances that architects, scholars, planners and artists in the Middle East, North Africa, East Africa, and South Asia face, from non-existent or fragmented archives, to restrictions on travel, or the absence of institutional support. It aims to respond to this situation by initiating an archive of social spatial experimentation, laying the groundwork of a lasting resource for generations of architects, scholars, planners and artists to come. It will also use the occasion of the inaugural Sharjah Architecture Triennial to create a platform for dialogue between an emerging generation of architects drawn from across the global south, the Arabic-speaking world, and their diaspora.

Sharjah Architecture Triennial UAE
Interior view of atrium, Radisson Blu Resort, Corniche Street, Sharjah, Architects Collaborative, Inc, 1980.

Photography: Ieva Saudargaitė

Sharjah Architecture Triennial, UAE images / information received 290518

Location: Sharjah, UAE

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