The Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2023 is upon us with the global UAE festival opening its doors to the public later this week. Its theme, ‘The Beauty of Impermanence: An Architecture of Adaptability’, has been set by its curator, Lagos-based architect Tosin Oshinowo of Oshinowo Studio (formerly cmDesign Atelier), who has pulled out all the stops to create a true global showcase for the festival’s second edition. Exhibits are set to ‘explore how we can create meaningful spaces that speak to their local environments and will highlight the contextual architects that are currently doing so’, she told us during an interview earlier this year. 

Hunnarshala Campus, Bhuj

(Image credit: Courtesy of Andreas Deffner)

Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2023: what to expect

Launching with a three-day celebration programme comprising talks, tours, screenings, workshops, and performances, the Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2023 puts the spotlight on the Global South, and architects’ solutions for the territory’s conditions of scarcity. Widely acclaimed participants include Lesley Lokko (curator, architect and founder of the African Futures Institute in Accra) and Rahul Mehrotra (Founder of RMA Architects and Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design) – they are just two of the highlights among a total of 29 contributions within the main show. 

Rendering of wrapped building in Al Madam

Rendering of wrapped building in Al Madam

(Image credit: Courtesy of Herman Hjorth Berge)

More recognisable names from the list making up the overall programme (which spans several panel talks and discussions), include Cave_bureau, DAAR – Sandi Hilal & Alessandro Petti (who won the Golden Lion at the recent Venice Architecture Biennale 2023), Hive Earth, and Olorunfemi Adewuyi, architectural associate at Studio Contra.

Formafantasma, Still from “Cambio - Seeing the Wood for the Trees” (2020-2023)

Formafantasma, Still from Cambio – Seeing the Wood for the Trees (2020-2023)

(Image credit: Formafantasma)

‘This Triennial is a labour of love and opportunity for discovery,’ said Oshinowo. ‘It will provide people with an opportunity to think differently about spaces, practices, and designs across the Global South.’

Placement of wooden structural roof - La Balsanera - Floating Productive House. Credit © Natura Futura

Placement of wooden structural roof – La Balsanera – Floating Productive House

(Image credit: Natura Futura)

‘As an architect coming from practice, it is very important to me that the triennial is inclusive. Visitors will not need to have prior knowledge to engage with the ideas on display. Whether you have a strong understanding of design or not, you should be able to take something away from the triennial.’

Collab – Henry Glogau & Aleksander Kongshaug, Render of Resource Autonomy

Collab – Henry Glogau & Aleksander Kongshaug

(Image credit: Resource Autonomy)

Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2023, ‘The Beauty of Impermanence: An Architecture of Adaptability’ runs 11 November 2023 – 10 March 2024 in the UAE