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Dr Adrian Lahoud Curates first Sharjah Architecture Triennial

Dr Adrian Lahoud, Dean of the School of Architecture, has curated the first edition of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial. Titled, Rights of Future Generations, the triennial opens 9 November 2019 and continues until 8 February 2020. It is the first major platform for architecture and urbanism in the Middle East, North and East Africa, South and Southeast Asia and offers new spaces for critical reflection that situates the built environment within its complex social, economic, and cultural contexts. 

Rights of Future Generations rethinks fundamental questions about architecture and its power to create and sustain alternative modes of existence. It places the relationship between generations at the heart of the struggle to avert the climate crisis. Both the opening programme and the participating projects demonstrate diverse strands of enquiry within the theme and suggest multiple ways architecture can shape our co-existence with others against extractive modes of living. 

Dr Lahoud commented:

‘We need to understand our social, political and economic existence through an intergenerational lens, if we are to have any hope of redressing some of the destruction that is currently being wreaked on the planet as a consequence of the intense carbon economies that we’ve been in for over 100 years.’

‘One of the things that we are doing in the triennial is to expand the idea of architecture beyond a strictly Western European genealogy, to become something that then starts to understand long term environmental modification by other societies as a kind of architectural practice, as a design act, even though it doesn’t necessarily figure within conventional histories of how architecture understands itself.’

‘This intersects with the kind of education that we are producing in the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art, which is incredibly broad and expansive in its understanding of architecture. One of the things that has been motivating the School since I’ve been leading it, is to take the challenge of climate change very seriously. You can see that refracted through every single studio in the MA Architecture programme and also in the new MA Environmental Architecture programme, which is currently looking at lithium extraction in Chile and palm oil plantations in Indonesia.’

The opening programme of the triennial takes place 9–12 November, is free and open to the public. It features diverse activities including a walk from Sharjah’s dhow port to the Old Al Jubail Vegetable Market; a press conference by Mauricio Hidalgo, chief of the Huatacondo community (northern Chile) in the Al-Qasimiyah School; and an awakening ceremony by the custodians of the Ngurrara Canvas II, which will be displayed at the Sharjah Art Foundation.

An integral part of the opening event is a music programme developed in collaboration with Ma3azef, an online magazine dedicated to contemporary Arabic music. The opening programme also features the first policy day of the Rights of Future Generations Working Group, which has been established as a forum for policymaking and advocacy. The Wokring Group will address the fundamental risks of environmental degradation, poverty, inequality, and political, racial, and gender discrimination. Throughout the Triennial, the Working Group will develop a charter on the rights of future generations to be known as the Sharjah Charter. 

A number of RCA alumni and tutors are taking part in the Triennial, including:

  • Dr Godofreido Pereira, Senior Tutor and Programme Leader on MA Environmental Architecture
  • Dyvik Kahlen, whose Director Max Kahlen is a Tutor in the School of Architecture, developed the exhibition design
  • Alonso Barros and Gonzalo Pimentel, Partners in the Lithium Triangle Research Studio, part of MA Environmental Architecture
  • Shanay Jhaveri, member of The Otolith Group, current PhD candidate at RCA
  • Feifei Zhou (MA Architecture, 2018) joins Feral Atlas’s project at Sharjah
  • Ibiye Camp, (MA Architecture, 2019)
  • Francesco Sebregondi, Tutor MA Architecture 2013–15
  • Samaneh Moafi, member of Forensic Architecture, has led a number of short course


Find out more about the Sharjah Architecture Triennial.

Find out more about programmes in the School of Architecture and how to apply.