Hoor Al Qasimi, the President of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, and its curator Tosin Oshinowo, have announced the title and theme of the 2023 Triennial as "The Beauty of Impermanence: An Architecture of Adaptability". The theme reflects on the issues of scarcity in the Global South, and how this challenge has created a "culture of re-use, re-appropriation, innovation, collaboration and adaptation". Through these differing modes of practice, the event, which will be inaugurated in November 2023, will explore how people can "reorient global conversations to create a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable future".
The theme comes as a response to the decrease of distinctive and adaptive architectural practices in the Global South that respond to culture, place, and climate. These practices, although in favor of an ethos of permanence in architecture, have been able to correspond to the rhythms of everyday life, climate, and material availability, and provide design solutions that answer to the many challenges facing their populations.
As explained by the curator, many practitioners, craftspeople, and communities across the ‘Global South’ have embraced long-standing traditions, showcasing how building a sustainable future has its roots in traditions of architecture and design. This approach has prioritized an understanding of impermanence and launched inventive responses to limitations. With the help of experts in the field, Oshinowo’s vision for the Triennial will serve as a platform for discourse that embraces the overlooked traditions of the region, exploring alternative creative strategies that are urgently required as architecture strives for a better future.
Sharjah is an incredible venue to explore impermanence, adaptability, and scarcity as they relate to the future of architecture - both because of the natural extreme climate conditions, and because of the overwhelming presence of impermanence in civic status. It confronts head-on the challenge of extreme climate within its traditional architecture and the inevitability of human transience that is easily ignored in many other areas of the world. A study of Sharjah provides the foundation to explore approaches to architecture that prioritize an understanding of impermanence, an embrace of the inevitability of scarcity, and a psychology of the collective that is essential for our shared future globally. -- Tosin Oshinowo, curator of the 2023 Sharjah Architecture Triennial
In March, Sharjah Architecture Triennial announced the appointment of Lagos-based Nigerian architect and founder of cmDesign Atelier Tosin Oshinowo as the curator of its second edition. Oshinowo’s appointment is a result of the architect’s socially responsive approaches to architecture, and her deep knowledge of the African architectural and urban context. Her work reflects the triennial's mission to pursue a multidisciplinary design approach “that fosters an understanding of the broader role of architecture, including its relation to social and environmental issues.”
Highlighting a range of voices and perspectives, Oshinowo has put together a curatorial advisory board of international architects, artists, and designers to create the curatorial vision for 2023. The board includes: Hoor Al Qasimi, president of Sharjah Architecture Triennial and president & director of Sharjah Art Foundation; Beatrice Galilee, co-founder and executive director of a new platform for architecture and design discourse, The World Around; Mariam Kamara, founder of architecture and research firm Atelier Masomi in Niger; Rahul Mehrotra, Founder of architecture firm RMA Architects of Mumbai + Boston and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design; Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, British-Nigerian artist; and Paulo Tavares, Brazilian architect and urbanist.