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Architecture Without Architects: Reflecting on the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale (National Pavilion UAE)

Yasser Elsheshtawy, the curator of Transformations: The Emirati National House, the exhibition presented by the National Pavilion UAE at the 2016 edition of la Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale), will speak at a series of public events at some of the UAE’s leading cultural centers throughout October.

The talks will take place on Saturday 8th October at Nadi Al Quoz, Alserkal Avenue; Sunday 16th October at New York University Abu Dhabi Institute; and Wednesday 26th October as part of Dubai Design Week at d3.

“For the 2016 edition of the Venice Biennale, the National Pavilion UAE presented an exhibition exploring the history and interesting contemporary life of the Sha’bī house, thoroughly researched and thoughtfully curated by Yasser Elsheshtawy,” says Khulood Al Atiyat, Manager of Arts, Culture and Heritage at the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation. “We were able to share this fascinating story with the prestigious international audience of the Biennale, and are very pleased that audiences in the UAE will engage with the exhibition’s content through a series of talks held in collaboration with some of the UAE’s leading cultural centers.”

Yasser Elsheshtawy is Associate Professor of Architecture at the UAE University, Al Ain, and a noted expert on regional architecture and urban development. He will be discussing his curation of Transformations: The Emirati National House, the highly commended exhibition presented at the National Pavilion UAE for the 15th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, on display until November 27th, 2016.

“I am honored to have been asked to speak at Alserkal Avenue’s Nadi Al Quoz, the New York University Abu Dhabi Institute and Dubai Design Week this month, and consider this to be a real testament to the National Pavilion UAE’s growing reputation as an entity central to the UAE’s cultural offering,” says Yasser Elsheshtawy. “At each event, I will focus on a different angle of the research and curation of Transformations: The Emirati National House, and hope to use these notable platforms to share the story of this fascinating, yet often overlooked, element of the UAE’s architectural landscape with a wider audience.”

Each year, the National Pavilion UAE contributes an exhibition exploring the arts or architecture of the UAE to the prestigious Venice Biennale. The National Pavilion UAE is commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and supported by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.


Details of the talks

Saturday, 8th October, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Nadi Al Quoz (Warehouse 90), Alserkal Avenue, Dubai
To RSVP, email nadi.al.quoz@gmail.com


Sunday, 16th October, 6:30 pm – 8 pm
NYUAD Institute, NYU Abu Dhabi
To RSVP, visit nyuad.nyu.edu


Wednesday, 26th October, master class 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm,
and panel discussion 6 pm – 7 pm
Dubai Design Week, d3, Dubai
Details soon on dubaidesignweek.ae


The Curator

Yasser Elsheshtawy is Associate Professor of Architecture at the United Arab Emirates University, where he has taught since 1997. His scholarship deals with urbanization in developing societies, urban history and environment-behavior studies, with a particular focus on Middle Eastern cities, and Elsheshtawy also runs UAE University’s Urban Research Lab.

Elsheshtawy has produced more than 70 texts in leading international journals and publishing houses, including his authored book Dubai: Behind an Urban Spectacle and his edited books, The Evolving Arab City and Planning Middle Eastern Cities, which have become key references on urbanism and architecture in the region.

He has been invited to present his research at international institutions such as Columbia University, Harvard Graduate School of Design, the ETH/Zurich, the Louvre Auditorium/Paris, NYU and the Canadian Center of Architecture/Montreal, and his multimedia work has been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum and New York University.


National Pavilion UAE la Biennale di Venezia

The National Pavilion United Arab Emirates la Biennale di Venezia was established to support the UAE’s contemporary art and architecture practices on an international platform through participation at la Biennale di Venezia, and to promote a cultural dialogue between the UAE and the international community.

The UAE’s participation at la Biennale di Venezia commenced in 2009 with a national pavilion at the 53rd International Art Exhibition, and has continued in subsequent editions of the art exhibition. 2016 marks its second participation in the International Architecture Exhibition.

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