Faysal Tabbarah, Associate Dean of the College of Art, Architecture and Design (CAAD) at the American University of Sharjah (AUS), recently shared the research and methodology behind the exhibition Aridly Abundant, which he curated for the National Pavilion UAE’s participation at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice.
This was the second time collaboration between the National Pavilion UAE and AUS.
Tabbarah outlined that the exhibition challenged perceptions of aridity by exploring the untapped potential of arid environments as spaces of abundance.
Joined by members of his research team, all of whom graduated from AUS, he showcased architectural possibilities within the UAE’s desert plateau, wadis, and coastal plains.
It took traditional and contemporary methods of construction and applied them with materials sourced from the Veneto region of Italy.
Tabbarah said: “The goal of “Aridly Abundant” was to look at the past for lessons that we can bring into the future of sustainable architecture and design, and to share them not only for regional application, but also to prepare other regions for the impact of climate change. The exhibition has been a catalyst for meaningful conversations with designers and policymakers from around the world, and I look forward to seeing how and where these ideas take root in the future.”
According to the team, the exhibition has been interacted with by tens of thousands of visitors to the Venice Biennale since May last year.
Following the closure of Aridly Abundant in November 2023 in Venice, the exhibition was dismantled and the materials were returned to the quarries and repurposed.