Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development launches ‘In Search of Spaces of Coexistence: An Architect’s Journey’ book in partnership with the Sharjah Architecture Triennial

In partnership with the renowned Sharjah Architecture Triennial initiative, the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development (MCKD) alongside its partners, and in line with the Year of Tolerance, launched yesterday the publication entitled In Search ofSpaces of Coexistence: An Architect’s Journey.

The book, commissioned to highlight the significance of the places of worship and community meeting points in the UAE, through a study of a new building category � architecture of coexistence, aims to understand, and study how users shape architecture, and in turn, how these spaces have affected or shaped the urban fabric of their surroundings.

In Search ofSpaces of Coexistence: An Architect’s Journey takes its root through the UAE Architecture project, which was founded to chronicle and document the heritage of the nation, which will, in turn, contribute to enriching the transforming urban landscape.

Held at the Al Qasimiyah School in Sharjah, the book launch also included the unveiling of an exhibition that celebrates the richness and diversity of spaces of coexistence in the UAE, tracing the journey of documenting these spaces, along with the stories and details discovered along the way; and a panel discussion on the role of community in shaping architecture of coexistence.

Commenting at the launch, Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi, Assistant Under-Secretary for Arts and Heritage, said, Architecture’s value goes beyond that of its physical presence. With this publication, we have strived to outline the stories and history of the architecture’s place in community. Today, the UAE witnesses the coming together of over 200 nationalities and coexistence has been instilled in the nation’s way of life since its early foundation. Our mosques, churches and upcoming synagogues, temples, and community spaces are symbols of how our society is not only tolerant but provides platforms for all to feel at peace and live in unity.

In addition to being a place for trade and opportunity, the UAE continuously brings together architects, planners, engineers and developers from across the world to support building and championing the country’s vision. Evidently, what distinguishes this architectural evolution is the unfolding of stories of coexistence and unified diversity. With religious spaces, cultural or recreational centers acting as places for dialogue, they simultaneously develop and enhance positive social relations all the while encouraging cohesion. With this book, we hope to shed light on the UAE’s history, and development, through a visual journey of its architecture and urban fabric.

The book, along with the exhibition and talks, aims to engage readers with a variety of example sites that propose the meaning of spaces that promote coexistence, gathering and unity. Also tracing the journey of the research team, comprised of architects, urban planners, designers and photographers, the book introduces the reader to the building category, along with several methods of building documentation.

With the UAE being a multicultural place, the panel explored the impact of various cultures and communities on the built environment, by examining the influence of trade on port cities, the modern architecture movement, and the community context on spatial form and use.

In Search of Spaces of Coexistence: An Architect’s Journey was developed by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi Media Company, and Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation. The UAE Architecture Project, created under a partnership between the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport, Zayed University, the Department of Culture and Tourism � Abu Dhabi and MCKD, aims to develop the architectural landscape in the UAE by creating a platform for shared dialogue, documentation, innovation and research. Emphasizing the role of architecture as an integral part of culture, The UAE Architecture project seeks to inspire the next generation and raise awareness about architecture in the UAE locally and globally.

Source: Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development