d3 and RIBA Gulf Chapter launch Dubai’s first architecture festival

The d3 Architecture Festival will showcase regional architecture, urbanism and sustainable development

d3 Architecture Festival

Dubai Design District (d3) has announced the launch of the inaugural d3 Architecture Festival in partnership with  the Royal Institute of British Architects Gulf Chapter (RIBA Gulf Chapter), establishing the first architecture festival of its kind in the emirate.

The festival is set to showcase regional architecture, urbanism and sustainable development, and will run from 11 to 13 November 2020, coinciding with Dubai Design Week which is also taking place in d3.

Curated with Juan Roldan, associate professor in the College of Architecture, Art & Design at the American University of Sharjah under the theme ‘Identity, Context and Placemaking in the Gulf’, the d3 Architecture Festival 2020  will celebrate the achievements of architecture companies in d3, Dubai and the wider GCC region.

Showcasing landmark regional architectural projects, the event will host a series of talks that aim to steer the region towards a more sustainable future. 

Commenting on the festival, Khadija Al Bastaki, executive director of d3, said: “Dubai has long been known as an architectural playground and the emirate’s limitless ambition has found expression in its ever-evolving skyline. As we carry on the process of rebuilding in the post-COVID-19 world, our relationship with the built and natural world has never been more important.

“In line with this priority, and recognising that d3 has become a hub for the Middle East’s architecture community, we’re delighted to announce the launch of the d3 Architecture Festival 2020 in partnership with RIBA Gulf Chapter. While offering a platform for critical reflection on social, cultural and economic issues, it will also provide opportunities for new talent and bring the design community together to champion Dubai and the UAE as a hub for knowledge, creativity and innovation.”

RIBA Gulf Chapter Chair and managing partner of AMA, Andy Shaw, added: “The past six months have shown us all how important the cities and buildings we build for ourselves are, and how we must come together and move forward. Architects have the skills to craft beautiful spaces that can be sustainable and innovative as Gulf countries look forward to how the future could be. The RIBA Gulf Chapter’s goals are well aligned with d3 and make for a great partnership for this new festival.

“The exhibition will feature models, drawings and projects from the most exciting architects working in the Gulf, such as Binchy and Binchy and ANARCHITECT who are founded by RIBA members. This event is a celebration of what has been achieved by architects in the region and, more importantly, what is to come from the emerging generation of local companies and graduating students.”

On the goals of the festival, Roldan added: “Over the last ten years, a new architectural landscape has emerged in the region. High-quality work with a deeper understanding of the Gulf’s historical context has become part of the region’s cultural and social tissue.

“The d3 Architecture Festival 2020 in partnership with RIBA Gulf Chapter will showcase this diverse and complex constellation of a new architectural landscape in the region, analyzing the stakeholders and conditions that have supported its emergence. Firstly, a mature generation of local and international designers with a deeper understanding of the nuances of the historical and cultural context. Secondly, an increasing number of governmental, private institutions, and clients with a growing awareness of a distinctive and contemporary approach to architecture as a way of delivering social, cultural, and economic added value. And thirdly, architectural education as the transversal element that articulates critical thinking in the future architecture in the region.”

In line with the wider objectives of the UAE Vision 2021, the country is well on track to becoming a global leader in the fields of innovation and technology that form key pillars of a competitive knowledge-based economy. 

The list of practices and schools participating in the d3 Architecture Festival 2020  include:

AGi Architects
American University of Sharjah
Binchy and Binchy Architecture
Dabbagh Architects
Design and More
Dorsch Gruppe
Heriot-Watt University Dubai
Killa Design
Koichi Takada Architects
Nyxo Visionary Design
OFFICE. Kersten Geers David Van Severen
T.ZED Architects
Woods Bagot
Zaha Hadid Architects