Wael Al Awar from Lebanon and Kenichi Teramoto from Japan, both principals of Dubai based Waiwai designed, have been appointed as the curators for the National Pavilion of the UAE at the 2020 Venice Biennale. Entitled Wetland, the exhibition presents an experimental solution to the critical environmental impact of the construction industry. Through scientific experimentation and research, the curators are attempting to create a technological equivalent of Portland cement from the crystalized salt and minerals that form the UAE’s unique Sabkha. They are in fact Exploring “sea salt as a traditional, locally-sourced building material, and its potential uses for developing sustainable habitation in desert environments like the UAE”. The cement industry accounts for 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions, in its production of concrete, which is the world’s second most highly-consumed material – so developing an alternative construction material without this high environmental impact is vital for shaping a sustainable future […] Sabkha are among the UAE’s richest geological features, and their mineral makeup has the potential to create a renewable, natural building material that is equivalent in scale, cost and strength to Portland cement. Through the Wetland exhibition project, we are experimenting with unlocking this potential through a process of scientific research. -- Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto,Principal Architects of waiwai design (formerly known as ibda design).
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