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TARABOT
Weaving A Living Forum for COP 28
Challenge: How can we nurture active co-creation with the natural world?
TypeCultural, Interspecies Habitat
Area500 sqm
LocationUAE
StatusFirst Life: Nov. 2023 - Apr. 2024

Shifting from human-centered to life-centered design, the forum is intended to establish an urban ecotone - a place where two biological communities meet and integrate - looking at non-humans as co-creators in building shared habitat in the city.

 

Set within Jameel Art Centre’s Sculpture Park, Tarabot: Weaving a Living Forum is an attestation of Interspecies Habitat. The temporary pavilion establishes a necessary shared space between humans and other organisms within the city, bringing together cutting edge sustainable materials developped in the UAE and native biodiversity. A domed structure over the amphitheater is conceived as an accumulation of cells coming together to create shelter and host life.

Made of modular and nested cone components crafted from locally sourced, sustainable materials that include clay, mycelium, date palm waste, and upcycled fabric, the pavillion is a call for the revival of urban spaces through a focus on the hyperlocal and the creation of circular ecological support systems within new and existing material structures. Its design weaves together four pillars of life that speak to its concept, construction, and dinstalation: Soil, Water, Plants, and Energy

After the temporary pavilion has served its purpose at Jameel Art Centre, the structure will be repurposed and given a second life. Its skeleton framing will be sunk as an artificial reef project, while the planted vegetation will be redistributed within the local community. Not only will Tarabot: Weaving a Living Forum continue to serve as an urban ecotone on land, where human life and native biodiversity find shared habitat, but it will also serve as inter-species habitat underwater, after it has served its human purpose.

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Within the highly urbanized context of Dubai, how could the unique lives of the desert and coast be brought into shared habitat with humans? With the design of Tarabot: Weaving a Living Forum, modular and nested cones were used to create bouquets, populating the dome’s “cells” and harnessing 4 pillars of life: Soil, Water, Plants, and Energy.

Water

By nesting small clay cones within larger ones, the forum uses an ingenious system for evaporative cooling and rainwater collection. Energy is conserved through the passive cooling system which also results in potable water. 

Plants

Upcycled waste materials, often originating from date palm, are used to construct the other cones, promoting the kind of circularity seen in life’s systems. In the DateForm and DesertBoard bouquets, native vegetation was planted to attract local insects, birds, and reptiles. 

Mycelium bouquets are used alongside the DesertBoard, and fruits and vegetables are planted in them for hyperlocal consumption at Teible, JAC’s on-site restaurant. 

Soil

Tarabot: Weaving a Living Forum aims to close the circle, feeding the soil so it can in turn feed us. To foster healthy, nutrient-rich soil, the forum incorporates a range of materials such as compost of organic food waste from Teible, gypsum powder from dismantled exhibitions at JAC, biochar, and the introduction of worms and vermicompost. 

Energy

The final material used in the cones is aluminum, which channels sunlight. This, alongside the shading provided by native vegetation protects humans and other organisms from Dubai’s harsh sun. Areas of the forum where cones are not used, Areesh is both an ode to Emirati culture and another source of shade.

Solar panels are used to convert solar energy into electricity, and as an open pavilion, the wind is harvested as a source of cooling. 

From the outset, Tarabot: Weaving a Living Forum was designed with its “end” of life in mind. How could this temporary structure remain a regenerative part of the circle of life? 

The forum’s bouquets will be redistributed in the community for urban and private planting, where they will transcend the temporality of the site and continue to foster ecological coexistence. 

Using untreated, locally-produced steel, the forum’s framing is made out of an ideal material for man-made coral-reef restoration projects. When it is time for this pavilion to come down, its skeletal structure will be immersed off the coast of Fujairah, where it will become the home of coral and reef life for the years to come. 

Beyond the local impacts of circularity and food and water production, Tarabot: Weaving a Living Forum draws down carbon, counters the urban heat-island effect, and enhances local biodiversity. For its 5-month lifespan and continually afterwards, the pavilion will truly serve as an oasis of life in Dubai. 

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