Faysal Tabbarah


Aridly Abundant is curated by Faysal Tabbarah, Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Architecture at the American University of Sharjah and co-founder of Sharjah-based experimental architecture and design studio Architecture + Other Things (A+OT) and is the National Pavilion UAE’s fifth participation in the International Architecture Exhibition.

The exhibition will consider how arid environments can be spaces of abundance by exploring architectural possibilities within arid landscapes in the UAE’s desert plateau, wadis, and coastal plains within Al Hajar Mountain range and its environment. The exhibition will focus on integrating land-based practices in architecture with contemporary technology and explore how these practices could be shared with other countries facing similar impacts of climate change.

Focusing on the relationship between architecture and arid landscapes, the exhibition challenges the perception of arid environments as spaces of scarcity by uncovering ongoing arid land-based practices that rethink mainstream material practices, while foregrounding aridity within architectural production and discourse provokes a future built in, with and for aridity.

Aridly Abundant will transform the pavilion’s space at La Biennale di Venezia, into an environment that exhibits the spatial, material, and tactical qualities of arid environments, creating a backdrop for architectural provocations suited for future global arid contexts; thus, responding to the Biennale Architettura 2023’s theme, The Laboratory of the Future, curated by Ghanaian-Scottish architect, academic, educator and best-selling novelist, Lesley Lokko.

Accompanying the exhibition, this year’s publication is conceived as a travelogue, will advocate a change in the way we look at aridity by exploring it as a concept; a dynamic condition which can be a state of mind, a practice, or a shared identity. The publication will be taking the seemingly arid landscapes of the UAE as a case study that allows us to declare aridity as a shared and common cultural space through diverse pieces – fiction and poetry, scientific essays, travel stories and photography. The book is co-edited by Faysal Tabbarah and Meitha Almazrooei.

The 18th International Architecture Exhibition, titled The Laboratory of the Future, curated by Lesley Lokko, will be held from 20 May – 26 November 2023 (pre-opening 18 and 19 May).