Visitors to this year’s Abu Dhabi Art fair will be able to immerse themselves in a sustainable architectural experience designed by American University of Sharjah students AlZaina Lootah, Lara Zareeni and Sahil Rattha Singh, who were awarded the 2022 Abu Dhabi Art Pavilion Prize.
The prestigious prize has been awarded to student design teams from AUS four times since it was launched five years ago. The competition is open to university students from across the UAE to develop architectural proposals for a temporary pavilion that will be realized at the art fair and potentially repurposed or relocated.
Guided by their mentor, Jason Carlow, Associate Professor at AUS’s regionally acclaimed College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD), the students were awarded AED10,000 to bring their pavilion Zaman to life at this year’s Abu Dhabi Art fair, which opened to VIP guests on November 15 at Manarat Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi’s Cultural District.
Zaman—which means time in Arabic—explores the elements of light, sound and matter, creating a juxtaposition between organic vegetation and natural light against a fabricated backdrop.
Senior architecture student AlZaina Lootah said the temporary structure is also completely sustainable and recyclable, with the aim that it would leave no trace of its footprint once dismantled or relocated. Following Abu Dhabi Art, Zaman will be dismantled and materials will be reused and recycled to the full extent possible.
“The biggest challenge for us was not in the design but in the fabrication to make sure we could meet our aim to be completely sustainable and come in within budget,” said Lootah.
“The pavilion is durable, requiring relatively low energy levels during its local fabrication in Dubai. We achieved this by using locally sourced materials and introducing vegetation and natural lighting to the interior,” she said.
Lara Zareeni, also in her fifth and final year of architecture studies at CAAD, said it was an incredible experience to be able to walk through and experience their work for the first time, and looks forward to visitors having the opportunity to engage with their design.
“It feels surreal seeing our creative input becoming a reality. The experience on its own was full of learning opportunities and was quite a journey. Having our design constructed which originally came from a concept, a pen and a sketch brings a rich sense of fulfillment!” said Zareeni.
“I hope the visitors feel the atmospheric qualities of tranquility offered by the design, evoking a tactile, visceral and transcendent experience,” said Zareeni.
Mentor and CAAD faculty member Jason Carlow said the students’ learning at AUS has prepared them well for this opportunity, working within the CAAD Labs—the college’s comprehensive design and fabrication facilities—and engaging in a series of design, representation and fabrication courses allowed them to conceptualize, render and comprehensively detail their design.
“The project has given the students the chance to work together with clients, contractors and consultants to realize their design in built form. Over the last months the team has worked through design and construction challenges and engaged with an actual built project in an rewarding opportunity rarely afforded to undergraduate students,” said Carlow.
Zaman will be open to Abu Dhabi Art visitors from November 16 until Sunday, November 20 2022.