UAE Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2018 will explore human-scale architecture

The UAE Pavilion for the 2018 Venice Biennale, Lifescapes Beyond Bigness, is set to explore human-scale architecture in the UAE, curated by Masdar professor, Dr. Khaled Alawadi.

The exhibition will highlight the role of architecture and urban design in forming the ‘choreography’ of every day life, with a particular focus on ‘quotidian’ landscapes in accommodating, enhancing, and facilitating social activities across various locations in the UAE.

 Image courtesy National Pavilion UAE – la Biennale di Venezia.

A curatorial selection of different typologies and places across the UAE will be explored in the exhibition, including neighborhoods, urban blocks, streets and alleyways, squares and public spaces, mountains and agrarian settings.

. Image courtesy National Pavilion UAE – la Biennale di Venezia.

Using site observations and mapping techniques, the exhibition will present an exploration of physical characteristics and typologies, through themes such as behavioral rhythms and informal patterns of life; and the architectural and design traditions that have shaped them.

The exhibition also invites visitors to experience important landscapes that are often overlooked in common perceptions about UAE’s mega-development discourse.

Image courtesy National Pavilion UAE – la Biennale di Venezia

Dr. Khaled Alawadi is an Emirati scholar and architect, and Assistant Professor of Sustainable Urbanism at the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi, part of Khalifah University of Science and Technology.

“The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s founding father, believed that urban planning should aim to support happiness and social cohesion by putting human needs at the centre of design. In line with this principle, many of the UAE’s pre-1990s urban and non-urban ‘quotidian’ landscapes were socially responsive and facilitated the development of diverse, vibrant communities,” says Dr. Khaled Alawadi.

“This exhibition is an excursion into these humane and under-celebrated areas of the UAE, highlighting the interplay between the physicality of architecture and places, and the dynamic choreography of everyday life. The exhibition weaves an array of original observations about different sites and lifescapes in the UAE, enriching our understanding of what UAE’s urbanism are about outside bigness.”

The 16th edition of the International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale will take place from 26 May to 25 November, under the theme of Freespace – curated by Dublin-based Grafton Architects. 

Main image: Children playing at their doorstep and in the alleyways of Bani-Yas, a traditionally designed Abu Dhabi neighborhood. Image courtesy National Pavilion UAE – la Biennale di Venezia.

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