Contemplating UAE residential architecture with Yasser Elsheshtawy: Part 2.

Made Journal’s final in-conversation contemplation of architecture today in the UAE discusses current trends and what the future looks like with Yasser Elsheshtawy, the curator for the National Pavilion United Arab Emirates (UAE) la Biennale di Venezia and Associate Professor of Architecture at the UAE University, Al Ain.


Would you say there are any issues or trends predominating architects’ thought process in the UAE residential architecture at present?

Sustainability is very important in the UAE. Again, in Abu Dhabi, the notion of sustainability is very significant right now. Crucially, sustainability also relates to the economic and social aspect as much as it does to the environment, and upcoming housing projects need to respond to these issues.

In the UAE, sustainability is not only concerned with the architecture of the houses but in how they relate to each other. As such, we are seeing more mixed-use communities, with more public space and less reliance on cars.


What do you think we can expect to see more of in the future?

It depends on what part of the UAE, which city we are considering.

In Dubai, we will expect to see more of the iconic mixed-use developments. There was the recent announcement that Emaar is going to build the tallest building in the world – taller than the Burj Khalifa. The $1bn tower is designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. It is quite spectacular. Also, in the lead-up to Expo 2020 there will be a series of iconic structures constructed. In Abu Dhabi, there are also a number of iconic buildings coming on, such as The Louvre Abu Dhabi and buildings on Yas Island.

Overall, we will see a planning paradigm shift. We will see higher densities, more green space and less cars. All of this will have an impact on housing in the UAE.


Read Architecture + Home, Part 1 in Made Journal’s contemplation of UAE residential architecture in conversation with Yasser Elsheshtawy, here.

The National Pavilion UAE la Biennale di Venezia is commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, and supported by the UAE Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development. The 15th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia will be held in Venice, Italy from May 28 to November 27, 2016.

National Pavilion UAE