Dubai Design District Launches d3 Architecture Festival 2020 in Partnership with RIBA Gulf Chapter


Dubai-UAE: 08 AUGUST, 2020 – Dubai Design District (d3) today launched the inaugural d3 Architecture Festival in partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects Gulf Chapter (RIBA Gulf Chapter), establishing the emirate’s first platform to showcase regional architecture, urbanism and sustainable development.


The inaugural edition of the d3 Architecture Festival is set to run from 11 to 13 November 2020 on the sidelines of Dubai Design Week, held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.


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 in partnership with RIBA Gulf Chapter 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 to steer the Middle East towards a more sustainable future, and invite designers, architects and the general public to participate in daily charrettes. The emirate’s first architecture festival will kick off with an opening reception at Building 6, d3, on 11 November.


Speaking about the new 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.”


As a home to over 50 leading local and international architecture practices such as Foster + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, and Benoy, d3’s business partners have designed some of the UAE’s most impressive projects to date, such as The Opus, Zayed National Museum and the falcon-shaped UAE National Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, envisioned by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Alongside awe-inspiring, large-scale projects, d3’s architectural business partners have delivered acclaimed boutique developments such as KOA Canvas by T.Zed Architects.


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. In ensuring sustainable development, the UAE’s reputation for excellence in architecture and engineering has continued to contribute to green and clean infrastructure, skyscrapers and heritage projects that strike the perfect balance between contextual relevance, cultural significance and social importance.


At d3, the heart of creativity in the Middle East, architecture and interior design studios make up a significant component of the community’s 385 business partners and 9,000 people.


The list of practices and schools participating in the d3 Architecture Festival 2020 in partnership with RIBA Gulf Chapter:


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 


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