International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam presents SMAQ

The fourth edition of the International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam (IABR) with the theme “Open City – Designing Coexistence”, curated by Kees Christiaanse, presents SMAQ´s manifesto “The Charta of Dubai” and its application: “X-Palm” as part of the exhibition REFUGE, sub-curated by Philipp Misselwitz and Can Altay, at the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi).


Charter of Dubai

With financial cooling and global warming, Dubai´s gated refuges cast long shadows in the desert. The contradiction inherent in the gated refuge – between independent islands and their dependency on outside resources – is located at surface boundaries where various cross-connections are concealed. SMAQ’s Charter of Dubai proposes a series of boundary-altering techniques designed to unearth these connections:

re:form – from spectacular image to urban figure; re:cover – from sand as land to dynamic environments of wind and water; re:source – from demanding air- conditioning to light, shade, and breeze; re:block – from controlled check points to a permeable grid; re:zone – from partitioned sameness to an exploration of difference; re:lock – from invisible gates to articulated entries; re:divide – from enclosure exclusion to cultural diversification; re:gain – from property speculation to social appropriation; re:plot – from grand estates to affordable dwelling aggregates; re:use – from under-utilized yards to common courtyards; re:view – from billboard architecture to local types

With these measures, edges are re-drawn via environmental forces, boundaries are reinvented as social connectors, and limits are reset to shorten energy cycles. Expanding, thickening, feathering, and scattering boundaries, here exemplified on The Palm Jumeirah, will allow Dubai to form the robust tissue of a diverse, open metropolis, which it so desperately aspires to be.


IABR International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam
Netherlands Architecture Institute NAi
Museumpark 25, 3015 CB Rotterdam, Netherlands
Exhibition: September 24, 2009 – January 10, 2010


X-Palm Charter of Dubai



For more information please visit:
International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR)
The Cornell Journal of Architecture


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