August 29, 2022
Tosin Oshinowo Will Celebrate a Culture of Reuse at the 2023 Sharjah Architecture Triennial
According to Oshinowo, embracing long-standing traditions that have been systematically ignored can inform a better understanding of impermanence and an inventive responsiveness to limitations. “We need to go back and understand why those buildings worked, what techniques or technologies existed, and bring these into a modern context,” she says.
Oshinowo, who was educated in the United Kingdom, returned to Nigeria to start her firm cmDesign Atelier, in 2012. Since then, she’s taken on civic, commercial, and residential projects throughout Nigeria, earning recognition as a leader of the next generation of African architects. She considers her work to be “Afro-Minimalist,” influenced as much by her Yorùbá culture as European Modernism.
Founded in 2018, the Sharjah Architecture Triennial is the legacy of Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, an Emirati royal and fashion designer with a background in architecture who served as chairman of Sharjah’s urban planning council. His aim was to create a global platform for architecture and urbanism from the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.
It’s a unique forum for Oshinowo, who says that cost is a challenging factor for sustainable design in the Global South. Besides material scarcity, she says sustainable solutions for building projects tend to be capital intensive.
“Long term, your maintenance cost would be less, but ultimately your capital cost would be more,” Oshinowo explains, naming LEED-certified buildings as an example.
For the 2023 Triennial to be successful, it’s essential to showcase architects, designers, artists, planners and researchers working in the region and through its many diasporas, Oshinowo insists. Though participants have yet to be nominated, she expects to feature designs by “people who haven’t seen the limelight, not because they don’t want to, but because they’ve been focusing on adding value in the right places.”
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