AUS professor, NPUAE curator presents sustainable possibilities for architecture in arid environments

Sharjah, UAE., February 82024 – With the conclusion of the 18thInternational Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale in November 2023, Faysal Tabbarah, Associate Dean of the College of Art, Architecture and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (AUS), shared the research and methodology behind the exhibition Aridly Abundant which he curated for the National Pavilion UAE’s participation at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice.

Joined by members of his research team—all of whom graduated from AUS—Tabbarah outlined how the exhibition challenged perceptions of aridity by exploring the untapped potential of arid environments as spaces of abundance, showcasing cutting-edge architectural possibilities within the UAE’s desert plateau, wadis, and coastal plains.

Tabbarah said: “The goal of “Aridly Abundant” was to look at the past for lessons that we can bring into the future of sustainable architecture and design, and to share them not only for regional application, but also to prepare other regions for the impact of climate change. The exhibition has been a catalyst for meaningful conversations with designers and policy makers from around the world, and I look forward to seeing how and where these ideas take root in the future.”

This was a second-time collaboration between the National Pavilion UAE and AUS that reflects their ongoing commitment to supporting artists, curators and scholars, and sustaining deep studies of the UAE’s cultural landscape and providing a platform to share curatorial concepts that address critical international conversations from a distinctive local perspective.

The exhibition, which has been interacted with by tens of thousands of visitors to the Venice Biennale since May last year, took traditional and contemporary methods of construction and applied them with materials sourced from the Veneto region of Italy.  With the closure of Aridly Abundant in  November 2023 in Venice, the exhibition was dismantled and the materials were returned to the quarries and repurposed.

For more information about research and creative work by faculty and students at the college of Architecture, Art and Design at American University of Sharjah, visit

For more information about the National Pavilion UAE- La Biennale di Venezia and to view a virtual tour of the exhibition,

About AUS

American University of Sharjah (AUS) was founded in 1997 by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Sharjah. Sheikh Sultan articulated his vision of a distinctive institution against the backdrop of Islamic history and in the context of the aspirations and needs of contemporary society in the UAE and the Gulf region. 

Firmly grounded in principles of meritocracy and with a strong reputation for academic excellence, AUS has come to represent the very best in teaching and research, accredited internationally and recognized by employers the world over for creating graduates equipped with the knowledge, skills and drive to lead in the 21st century.

AUS values learners not driven only by academic success, but by those that embrace our dynamic campus life and embody our ideals of openness, tolerance and respect. This combination of academic excellence and community spirit ensures AUS is filled with world-class faculty and students, poised to become the innovators, thinkers, contributors and leaders of tomorrow.

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