UAE-based architects and academics to discuss nocturnal public spaces at Harvard University

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A symposium at Harvard University will address the subject of nocturnal public spaces and how urban landscapes are used after dark in the Arabian Peninsula.  The event will take place from 7-8 April in Boston, US.

Presented by The Aga Khan Program and The Department of Landscape Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design as well as the  CMES Arabian Peninsula Studies Series, the two day symposium will bring together various architects and academics- from and based around- the Middle East region, predominantly the Gulf states.

Entitled ‘After Dark: Nocturnal Landscapes and Public Spaces in the Arabian Peninsula’, the panel discussions will look at who uses night-time landscapes and public spaces, what activities are peculiar to the night and ultimately, how to design for life after dark.

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Harvard University’s official website states: “In the Arabian Peninsula, public spaces are often most used after darkness falls and the temperatures with it. This symposium explores typologies of nocturnal landscapes common in the Peninsula, and similar hot climates.”

Taking part in the symposium are AGi Architects from Kuwait, X Architects from the UAE, as well as Steven Velegrinis of Perkins + Will.

Academics include Cristiano Luchetti from the American University of Sharjah and Yasser Elsheshtawy of UAE University and curator of the 2016 UAE National Pavilion for the UAE.

Other participants include Maha Al Dhaheri, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council and Abdulatif Almishari, AsBuilding Architects.

After Dark: Nocturnal Landscapes and Public Spaces in the Arabian Peninsula

The four panel discussions that will take place during the symposium are: ‘Nocturnal Activities in Public Spaces’, ‘Designing for Darkness’, ‘Narratives of the Night’, and ‘New Nocturnal Landscpaes’.

Luchetti, who is a professor at the American University of Sharjah, will give a talk entitles ‘Space[Less] City: Stories from Sharjah’s Instant Modernity’, following a panel discussion, alongside New York-based photographer and filmmaker, Wilmot Kidd and Hussam Dakkak of Studio Bound, which has offices in London, Kuwait, and Riyadh.

“In recent years, the process of urbanization in major cities of the Gulf has been unprecedented in both scale and the pace of its unfolding. Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, is no exception. Its population of 1.5 million was reached at incredible speed. This resulted in an urban setting that suffers of this extremely quick development and it needs better design and even more a focused and critical urban analysis,” said Luchetti.

“In this scenario, infrastructure and community facilities could not keep up with the pace of development, thus producing a city volumetrically defined by its masses but with an almost absent strategy for its voids. In this context, the space “in between” buildings, its public spaces, are places greatly in need of a renewed implementation of a quality urban life.

“Work on the Space[Less]City focuses on defining proper strategies for urban improvement through analysis, research projects, and art performances,” he said of his presentation.

See full schedule here.

Featured image Courtesy Technilum. 

 

 

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