The judges commended the Wetland exhibit for being open to new construction techniques
Wetland, the UAE’s innovative pavilion at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, has been awarded the prestigious Golden Lion for Best National Participation.
In making the award, the Golden Lion jury commended the UAE’s exhibit for making visitors consider the relationship between waste and production and for being open “to new construction possibilities between craft and high technology”.
It is the 10th time the UAE has participated in the Venice Biennale. This year’s event, which runs until November 21, runs under the theme How Will We Live Together.
Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, described the award on social media as “testament to the talent and ingenuity that represents the UAE”.
More than 60 nations developed national pavilions, including the UAE’s Wetland exhibition, which was curated by Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto.
Wetland examines the potential for creating sustainable building materials from the UAE’s salt flats or sabkhas and features an environmentally friendly cement produced with recycled desalinated water.
The exhibit is inspired by traditional coral houses, but its ground-breaking cement has the strength and durability to be used in modern architecture in standard brick shape.
A series of Farah Al Qasimi’s photographs was commissioned to complement the installation, showing the interplay between the salt flats and industrial development.
Al Kaabi said the exhibit provided “a rare opportunity to present stories and ideas that define the UAE” at its opening in May.
“This culture of bridge-building and multinational exchange is fundamental to who we are as a nation,” she said.
“Wetland presents a truly insightful idea, and a fresh perspective on the global issue of climate change. Developing more sustainable ways of balancing the needs of the modern world with the need to protect our environment is absolutely critical, and very high on the UAE’s national strategic agenda.”
Article published in The National on August 31st, 2021.