D3 Architecture Exhibition showcases past, present and future of sustainable architecture with RIBA Gulf Chapter



Dubai, UAE, 8 November 2023: The brightest minds and experts in the region’s architectural design sector have come together to create a visual timeline of sustainable architecture for the d3 Architecture Exhibition. Dubai Design District (d3), a global creative hub part of TECOM Group PJSC, has teamed up with the esteemed Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Gulf Chapter to curate and launch what marks the fourth instalment of its architectural showcase, with the theme of this year’s exhibition being Sustainability – Past, Present and Future.


Running in the atrium of Building 6 at d3 until 12 December 2023 (10am-10pm), the exhibition aligns with the UAE’s Year of Sustainability, COP28 (which is scheduled to take place at the end of November) and Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan. The show kicks off alongside Dubai Design Week, the Middle East’s leading design platform which is held in strategic partnership with d3 and which also has sustainability at its core this year, and will continue until the end of COP28.


More than 35 architectural studios (either RIBA members or d3 based-brands) are participating in the exhibition – from distinguished international firms like Fosters + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects and UN Studio to a host of local and regional studios.


All are showcasing projects and models around sustainable architecture across the region with several renowned regional landmarks among the work presented – including the Beeah headquarters, Masdar, Mshreib, Expo pavilions, Cultural Foundation, Mosque of Light, Chedi Al Bait, The Lana Dubai, Burj Rafal, Al Ain Museum; Abu Dhabi Zayed Museum, MiZa, UAE Space Base, Hospital of the Future, Madinat Irfan, a Bastakia wind tower house from 1975, plus more.


Commenting on the fourth d3 Architecture Exhibition, Khadija Al Bastaki, Senior Vice President of d3, part of TECOM Group, said: “This year’s d3 Architecture Exhibition, in collaboration with the Gulf Chapter of the RIBA, presents a rich journey of sustainable architecture in our region. It addresses what has been done in the past, what is being done now and what can be done in the architectural spheres to ensure tomorrow’s buildings and cities coexist with their surrounding natural ecosystems and contribute overall to protecting our planet and people’s health, happiness and safety.


“As the world grapples with climate change and urban challenges, architects have a crucial role to play in how we live sustainably. As a global creative hub, we bring a wealth of creative architectural ideas together at d3 for everyone to see, engage with and be inspired from.”


Andy Shaw, Chair of the RIBA Gulf Chapter, said: "Our intention has been to highlight the timelessness of sustainable design, tracing its roots from ancient wisdom to present mastery and forward into innovative futures.


“Through the lens of sustainable design, the exhibition takes a captivating journey through time, unveiling the transformative legacy of the Gulf region and identifying how innovation can meet heritage as we look ahead to the future.”


Curated by the RIBA, Sustainability – Past, Present and Future presents a journey through sustainable design in the region.


  • It first includes an introspective look at the past and traditional sustainable architecture concepts, unravelling the innate sustainability practices of historical buildings and masterplans from courtyards and wind towers to the modern age.
  • It then showcases the apex of both big and small contemporary architectural practices, and buildings across the Gulf that exhibit innovative material use or approach to energy.It brings buildings with adapted use to the fore, underscoring the modern imperative of environmental harmony.
  • A speculative dive into the future of design with cutting-edge models and potential trajectories for architecture represents the future. There is an emphasis on respect for nature, urban resilience, and technological innovations, setting the stage for a future where sustainability is seamlessly integrated into every facet of design.


The exhibition’s sustainable architecture theme is also seen in its set-up with easels, tables and benches to present the projects made from reclaimed wood provided by Beeah and local palm strand boards from Desert Board.  The set-up is also modular and movable for future re-location.


Complementing the exhibition is a series of panels and workshops open to all. These address topics such as: nomadic and historic building processes; current response for future generations; adaptive industrial urbanism; AI and the future of design; and pods in outer space.


In addition to Foster + Partners, Zaha Hadid and UN Studio other participating studios are: Alaa Shibly; Allies and Morrison; AMA; ANArchitect; Archidentity; Arup; Binchy and Binchy; Dabbagh Architects; Design Tomorrow; Flevotomou Architects; GAJ; Grimshaw; Haptic / Ramboll; Hopkins Architects; Jones AD; JTP; Killa Design; LWK; Mark Kyffin; MOMA; NGS Architects; Nikken Sekkei; NOA; P&T; Peter Jackson; RMJM; Ross Lovegrove; Sarah Asif; tangram Architects; Tim Fu; Woods Bagot; X Architects; plus students from Abu Dhabi University, American University of Sharjah and Heriot Watt University Dubai.


The exhibition’s Curation and Exhibition Design Committee members include Andy Shaw, Sandra Woodall, Maya Cochrane, Juan Roldan, Ryan Sailsman, Yasmeen Atoum, and Alawiya Muhammed. A special thanks also to: Jones Renovations for the fabrication of the exhibition; Beeah for the provision of the reclaimed timber; Desert Board for the palm strand boards for the display panels; and RIBA International for the local initiative funding.


This year’s exhibition marks the fourth edition of the d3 Architecture Exhibition and the second in collaboration with the Gulf Chapter of the RIBA. The event has grown every year and further establishes Dubai’s first platform to champion regional, urbanism and sustainable development.


Dubai Design District (d3) is part of TECOM Group’s business district portfolio, including Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Production City, Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai International Academic City, Dubai Science Park and Dubai Industrial City.


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