The first ever d3 Architecture Festival, organised in partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects Gulf Chapter (RIBA Gulf Chapter), took place in Dubai on 11-14 November 2020. The festival focused on architecture, urbanism, and development.
Architecture has played a major role in shaping Dubai’s skyline and the UAE’s diversified economy, increasingly influenced by the real estate and construction industry. The festival was held under the theme Identity, Context and Placemaking in the Gulf guiding the industry towards a more sustainable future. The event consisted of a mix of physical and digital events.
One of the main reasons behind the festival, according to Khadija Al Bastaki executive director of d3, is 'the growing need to build future-proof cities represents both an existential challenge and an exciting new horizon'. 'Creating a dialogue on identity, context, and placemaking will enable us to come together to consider how the built environment can impact the economy, the environment and society at large', she explained. 'As a home to more than 50 architecture companies, d3 is proud to have launched this event in collaboration with our partners to connect the community, and cement Dubai’s reputation as an attractive destination for talent and innovations'.
The United Nations estimates that by 2050 the global population will reach 9.7 billion people and two thirds of them will live in the cities. Infrastructure, housing and sustainability will be profoundly affected by that and architects will have to reimagine the way cities are designed.
Juan Roldan, Associate Professor in the College of Architecture, Art & Design at the American University of Sharjah curated the festival. It featured physical and digital events including live-streamed talks and workshops, as well as a physical exhibition showcasing works from 39 shortlisted entries across the Gulf region. Photographs of key projects delivered in the UAE were presented at the exhibition in Building 6, d3, among them were the Museum of the Future by Killa Design and Sharjah-based waste management company Bee’ah’s new headquarters 'Office of the Future' by Zaha Hadid Architects.
The festival's panel discussions highlighted various topical issues concerning urban development and urban future. Christos Passas of Zaha Hadid Architects, who designed the Opus in Dubai, said, 'Middle Eastern cities have shown tremendous leadership in reinventing what a modern, contemporary metropolis in the Arab world can be, and in that sense Dubai and Abu Dhabi have taken the lead in this rapid evolution'.
d3 Architecture Festival took place in Dubai on 11-14 November 2020.