Building Sharjah tells the tale of how modern architecture unfurled across the United Arab Emirates’ third-largest city. An offshore discovery in 1972 positioned Sharjah to be one of the world’s last cities shaped by oil’s transformative fortune. Following in the footsteps of Kuwait, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai, Sharjah faced a metamorphosis and a choice: repeat the mistakes of the past or reimagine the ways that wealth can build a city.
Sharjah’s tremendous potential enticed an international cast of experts to create a bold, new city. As their projects continue to disappear from the city’s landscape, this book sets out to preserve them through previously unpublished photographs and documents. New writing chronicles how local and newly arrived residents arranged the designed, concrete environment into a home. Beyond just a local artifact, this book examines the confident promises made by global practices of urbanization.
Building Sharjah brings together a group of voices who know this city well with those who can contribute to understanding Sharjah in a more global context. Their works—ranging from literary fiction to neighborhood memoir and heartfelt historical analysis—anchor the book’s deep search for how such a pronounced effort to modernize through architecture materialized for the people arriving to live in Sharjah. Contributors include Ammar Al Attar; Mohamed Elshahed; Roberto Fabbri; Reem Khorshid; Michael Kubo; Hind Mezaina; Abdulla Saad Moaswes; Mona El Mousfy; Hammad Nasar; Talal Al-Rashoud; Alia Al Sabi; K. V. Shamsudheen; Łukasz Stanek; Suheyla Takesh; and Deepak Unnikrishnan.
About the Editors
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi is an Emirati columnist and researcher on social, political and cultural affairs in the Arab Gulf States whose articles have appeared in The Financial Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Open Democracy, The National, and The Globe and Mail, as well as other notable publications. He is also the founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, an independent initiative established in 2010 to contribute to the intellectual development of the art scene in the Arab region by building a prominent and publicly accessible art collection in the United Arab Emirates.
Todd Reisz is an architect and writer living in Amsterdam. His work examines the global practice of architecture, specifically how the architect circulates technologies and cultural narratives. His work has been featured in The Guardian, Architectural Design, and Artforum. He has taught architectural and urban design at Yale University and Harvard University.
About the Publisher
Birkhauser is a leading professional publisher for architecture, landscape architecture and design. Main target groups of the program are design professionals, bith in practice and academia, as well as students. Their program aims at supporting architects and designers in their daily work and is focused on process and workflow.