My approach will rely on integrating technology with land-based materials practices and knowledge found in arid landscapes in the UAE. Aridity is a fast-approaching future condition for many regions, and through this exhibition, we’ll explore their potential as spaces of abundance and productivity.

 – curator Faysal Tabbarah

The National Pavilion UAE will showcase a research collection named “Aridly Abundant” for its participation in the upcoming Biennale Architettura 2023. Faysal Tabbarah, Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Architecture at the College of Architecture, Art, and Design at the American University of Sharjah, is the curator of the display.

UAE Pavilion at the Venice Biennale Explores Abundance in Arid Environments - Sheet1
UAE pavilion_©archdaily

By investigating architectural options within dry settings in the UAE’s desert plateau, wadis, and coastal areas inside the Al Hajar Mountain range and its context, the exhibit will investigate how arid areas may be spaces of abundance. The exhibition will concentrate on fusing land-based architectural techniques with modern technologies and investigate how these methods may be shared with other nations dealing with comparable impacts of climate change.

Aridly Abundant will respond to the Biennale Architettura 2023’s theme, The Laboratory of the Future, curated by Ghanaian-Scottish architect, academic, educator, and be. Aridly Abundant will transform the pavilion’s space at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia into more of an atmosphere that showcases the spatial, material, and strategic qualities of arid environments, creating a soundscape for architectural provocations suitable for future global arid contexts.

UAE Pavilion at the Venice Biennale Explores Abundance in Arid Environments - Sheet2
UAE pavilion_©archdaily

By highlighting ongoing arid land-based practices that rethink conventional material practices and putting aridity front and center in architectural production and discourse, the exhibition, which focuses on the link between architecture and arid landscapes, challenges the idea that arid environments are spaces of scarcity.

What architectural circumstances can become conceivable when we rethink arid landscapes as locations of abundance? asks Faysal Tabbarah as she introduces the overarching concept of “Aridly Abundant.” According to the architect, the underlying research asks, “How can we build in, for, and with arid landscapes?” in order to address this issue in three key ways. Construction in dry areas is simply a recognition of the precarity of aridity. Building in these landscapes in contemporary society reveals intricate situations, which entails “exploring how the correlation between recent technologies and land-based practices can evoke adaptable, context-specific infrastructures that adapt and respond to the barriers caused by neighboring conditions of aridity.”

UAE Pavilion at the Venice Biennale Explores Abundance in Arid Environments - Sheet3
Faysal Tabbarah_©archdaily

It will be Tabbarah’s first time taking part in the International Architectural Exhibition as the curator of a national pavilion. At the American University of Sharjah, Faysal Tabbarah holds the positions of Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Architecture. He is the co-founder of Architecture + Other Things (A+OT), an experimental architecture and design practice based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE), alongside his work in academics. The goal of Tabbarah’s work is to investigate the link between local environmental and architectural imaginaries across all platforms. He intends to contribute to the development of alternative building techniques that are based on regional materials and cultural backgrounds by learning how individuals engage with their native habitat.

The three key topics being researched in the study are:

  • Investigating how the fusion of modern technologies and land-based activities might result in resilient context-specific constructed environments that adapt and respond to the challenges presented by the underlying arid conditions is the focus of the book Building in Aridity: Uncovering Arid Lands-Based Practices.
  • Studying materials found in arid regions that can be used to build built spaces that are both environmentally sustainable and culturally rooted is part of the Building with Aridity – Rethinking Extractive Material Practices project.
  • Studying resources, conditions, and knowledge inherent in arid landscapes that might give crucial lessons for places facing aridity as a new state as a consequence of the climate catastrophe is part of the Building for Aridity initiative, which recognizes aridity as a potential global condition.

The curator has made it clear that the goal of this research is to comprehend how the UAE as well as other countries facing comparable climate challenges might start to find solutions in the future. The Biennale Architettura’s Biennale of Architecture is an international forum for free dialogue and the creation of alternatives for the future.

UAE pavilion_©archdaily

A travelogue-style publication is included with the display. The exploration of aridity as a concept and the removal of any conceptions of scarcity will serve as a guide to establish the higher conception as a whole. The idea frames “aridity” as a dynamic state that can be either a collective identity or a mental state. With the UAE serving as the primary case study for the foundation of aridity, the journal will experiment with genres including fiction, poetry, scientific studies, travel narratives, and photography. Faysal Tabbarah, the curator, and Meitha Almazrooei, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ph.D. student in History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture, a Columbia University alumna, and the creator of WTD Magazine, collaborated on the book’s editing.


  • Fakharany, N. (2023) UAE Pavilion at the Venice biennale explores abundance in arid environments, ArchDaily. ArchDaily. Available at: (Accessed: February 21, 2023). 
  • American University of Sharjah (2023) National Pavilion UAE explores the potential of arid environments at upcoming Biennale Architettura 2023, La Biennale di venezia, with its exhibition ‘aridly abundant’, American University of Sharjah. American University of Sharjah. Available at: (Accessed: February 21, 2023). 

She chases colours and prints. In her pajamas and tote-bags, writing makes her bounce (and fall face front sometimes). Kind and approachable (no she shall not poke you with her fountain pen). She’s stubborn and if she’s not architecturing, you’ll find her in a kitchen cooking something witty and delicious.