First edition of Sharjah Architecture Triennial 

by | Architecture, Biennale, Events

The Sharjah Architecture Triennial is the first major platform to invite dialogue on architecture and urbanism in the Middle East, North and East Africa, South and Southeast Asia. The inaugural edition opens in November 2019 curated by Adrian Lahoud with the theme of Rights of Future Generations. Inherent in this theme is a commitment to address climate change as the most urgent challenge facing humanity today.

The Triennial is pleased to announce Ambassador Lumumba Di-Aping as the chair of the Rights of Future Generations Working Group, a forum for dialogue and advocacy on behalf of future generations who will bear the burden of climate impact. Additionally, as part of the Triennial’s wider programming, an Environment & Ecology Forum will be held in Sharjah on 15 March exploring how particular environmental contexts and conditions in the Global South produce unique relationships between human beings and ecosystems.

The 2019 edition of the Triennial has invited Di-Aping, who represented developing countries as Chairman of the G77+China at the December 2009 Copenhagen climate change conference, to bring together United Nations representatives, government officials, international rights groups, and members of relevant civil society organizations. The Working Group’s mission is to advance the protection of future generations’ fundamental rights in a world where climate change is dramatically shifting along socio-economic, legal, gender, racial and political dimensions. Through examining the quality and form of life as it is experienced today and as it will be experienced in the future, the Rights of Future Generations Working Group will collaboratively produce The Sharjah Charter to be presented at The Sharjah Summit at the Triennial. Members of the Working Group will be announced in September 2019.

Al-Qasimiyah School, Al-Manakh, Sharjah. Credit: Sharjah Architecture Triennial.

A part of this programme is the upcoming 15 March forum on the subject of Environment & Ecology, the third in a series organized around Housing & Domesticity and Schooling & Education; along with an upcoming forum on Diasporic Networks, these make up the major research strands within the Triennial’s theme. The 15 March forum interrogates climate change as a consequence of societies that have learned to see other living beings as little more than resources to be exploited. Speakers are confirmed as Dalal Alsayer, Ph.D. Candidate in History and Theory of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania; Samia Henni, Assistant Professor at the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University; and Marina Tabassum, founder of Marina Tabassum Architects and 2016 winner of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Aerial view of Corniche Street and Al Mujarrah neighborhood. Photograph by Ieva Saudargaitė. Credit: Sharjah Architecture Triennial.

Responding to the unique circumstances that architects, scholars, planners and artists in the post-colonial Middle East, North and East Africa, South, and Southeast Asia face, Rights of Future Generations  initiates the Sharjah Architecture Triennial’s mission to serve as a space for dialogue that supports an emerging generation of architects drawn from across the Global South and their diaspora.