Dubai is set to host its first month long Architectural Biennale in 2018! The bold architectural vision of Dubai is talked about globally. Fascinating, bewildering and contrasting are just a few terms people associate with the fast-rising city. What is behind the architectural conceptions and visions? Who is the city designed for? What do architects feel about design processes in their profession? How does Dubai contribute to the global dialogues in architecture today? The bi-annual, month long Biennale will provide a platform to explore the built environment from different perspectives in the city.
She provides an example: “We have created the tallest tower in the world. We know that popular part, but how that was done, the feats of engineering that went into it, that is not so broadly disseminated in popular discourse.”
As part of Arch.Season’17, Sonia Brewin has handpicked 10 architectural and design highlights to experience throughout November. Listen to her explain why she has chosen each one and what to expect from every event.
We are just as excited for the prequel to next year’s event, which will take place between Nov 11 – 26 at AlSerkal Avenue this month. The theme for this year’s event is ‘What should an Architectural Biennale for Dubai look like?’. An architectural Biennale should be a representation of the city and the vision it is headed toward. The intention behind the theme is to arrive at a collective realization of what people feel so that it can be aptly represented in next year’s Biennale. What is the opinion of architects, students, designers and academics about this in Dubai?
Locally, other questions can arise. Dubai has emerged as a global city and this has reflected in architecture as well. It has become the home to the creation of many starchitects and glass skyscrapers. The Burj Al Arab and the Burj Khalifa are becoming a ‘signature’ of the city. Architectural icons play a big role in providing a visual recognition for the city. But what if Dubai did not grow to be the global city it is today. What are the alternative scenarios of development? And what would be the architectural icons we would associate with that?
Saturday, 11 NovemberActivity: Architectural Majlis @ Lane I, Alserkal Avenue / [email protected]
One of SVENM’s goals for the biennale is to encourage organisations to share their architectural and design innovations with the public. “Sharing knowledge about buildings in Dubai is something private entities do in small pockets. They tend to share only with their own audiences,” Brewin explains.
*This talk is part of the While We Wait exhibition programme at Concrete.
It would be interesting to know Dubai’s stand about current global issues in the field. With 70% of cities worldwide are facing the impact of climate change and nearly all cities are at risk (C40 Cities), adaptive planning and design has come to the forefront in recent years. Environmental sustainability is becoming prevalent in almost all spheres of design. Do professionals and designers in Dubai recognize this as a priority? Designing for a fast-changing city set among many deep environmental and economic uncertainties and being a part of the larger transient population of the city, most architects find themselves in a unique and challenging position.
“There is a blossoming now of architectural discourse that there has not been in the last couple of years,” says Sonia Brewin. She is the co-founder of SVENM, a creative consultancy that specialises in art and design.
Thursday, 16 NovemberSymposium: Cultural Collaterals With Columbia [email protected] DXBDW Main Stage, Building 4, D3 / 2-7PMdubaidesignweek.ae
“The biennale aims to harness what we call ‘human narrative’,” she says. “How we build cities is not just with buildings, but with human interactions and that’s key.”
Talk: Architecture & Jewelry, Janus Rostock with Paul Paradis @ L’école Van Cleef & Arpels, HAI, D3 / 6-8PMdubaidesignweek.ae
Monday, 13 NovemberTalk: Sir David Adjaye with Sultan Al Qassemi @ DXBDW Main Stage, Building 4, D3 / 7-8PMdubaidesignweek.ae
Wednesday, 15 NovemberTour: Open House for Arch.Season ’17 at [email protected] Concrete, Alserkal Avenue / 11AM – [email protected] Tour: Open House for Arch.Season ’17 at Karim Coffee [email protected] Karam Coffee Factory, Al Quoz 3 / [email protected]
SVENM are organising Dubai’s first Architectural Biennale in 2018. To give people a preview of the biennale, SVENM is spearheading Arch.Season ’17, a launch event that will feature architectural majlis discussions, behind-the-scenes tours of Concrete in Alserkal Avenue and the Karam Coffee Factory in Al Quoz, a design challenge for students, and much more.
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Her goal is to show people how innovations in the region fit into larger movements in contemporary architecture around the world. “When we reach the international context, the media discourse tends to be about the great and shiny successes of the country, rather than the more academic and innovative levels of research and the impact we’re making globally in philosophies of contemporary architecture.”
Tuesday, 14 NovemberTalk: UAE Modern with Rashad Bukhash @ Etihad Museum / 10.45-11AMuaemodern.org
Panel Discussion: Modernising the Traditional with Elias & Yousef Anastas*@ Concrete, Alserkal Avenue / 6.30-7.30PMalserkalavenue.ae
This year’s events include an Architectural Majlis to bring forward opinions and discussions, workshops exploring interior architectural construction, building tours around the city, a design competition for students and an ‘instameet’ for photography enthusiasts. This month’s Biennale should be able to inform next year’s theme and we look forward to the outcome! The Architecture Biennale will be hosting the first Architectural Majlis on Nov 11th in collaboration with The Tryptic Note and with the support of Alserkal Avenue. Make your voice count as a professional and resident of Dubai and come join us at the first Architectural Biennale in the Middle East!
Sunday, 12 NovemberExhibition: Al Sawaber, Tarek Al-Ghoussein @ The Third Line, Alserkal Avenue / 10AM – 7PMthethirdline.com
Friday, 24 NovemberFamily Workshop: My City Skyscraper 2020 @thejamjar, Alserkal Avenue / [email protected]
Brewin plans to change that with the upcoming Architectural Biennale, which aims to tell the “invisible stories” of the architecture around us through activations such as behind-the-scenes tours of buildings, talks, and workshops.