SHARJAH, 30th May, 2018 (WAM) — In an event held during the Vernissage of the Venice Biennale, the curator of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, Adrian Lahoud, announced “Rights of Future Generations” as the theme of the first edition.
Running for three months, the triennial will open in November 2019 in the emirate of Sharjah as the first major platform for dialogue on architecture and urbanism focusing on the Middle East, North Africa, East Africa and South Asia.
Emerging as a radical proposal within indigenous struggles and international law, the Rights of Future Generations aims to fundamentally challenge the way we think about designing societies and environments with important implications for architecture, urban design and planning. The exploration of this concept, both within the context of the Arabic-speaking world and the global south, is at the heart of the inaugural Sharjah Architecture Triennial.
Adrian Lahoud said, “The Rights of Future Generations is an invitation to radically rethink fundamental questions about architecture and its power to create and sustain alternative modes of existence. The last decades have seen a massive expansion in rights, yet this expansion has failed to address long-standing challenges around environmental change and inequality. A focus on rights to health, education and housing as individual rights has obscured collective rights such as rights of nature and environmental rights. At the same time, the conceptualisation of rights as basic standards reduces the diversity of human existence to mere subsistence within a universal minimum.
“The Rights of Future Generations questions how inheritance, legacy, and the state of the environment are passed from one generation to the next, how present decisions have long-term intergenerational consequences, and how other expressions of co-existence, including indigenous ones, might challenge dominant western perspectives. Turning to alternative concepts of architecture and the environment, the Sharjah Architecture Triennial will focus on moments where experiments with architectural and institutional forms collaborate to generate new social realities.
“Architecture’s power is fundamentally propositional and pedagogical. Design is an opportunity to bring alternative modes of existence into being, including new concepts of what buildings, cities, landscapes, and territories are. In order to do that effectively, architecture has to find ways of working alongside institutions that are able to structure the protocols, habits and rituals that organise lives according to these new ideas,” he said in conclusion.