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United Arab Emirates


Al Falaj: Water Systems of the Gulf's Oases

A vast system of planned irrigation once stretched across the Gulf, bringing water and vitality to desert communities. Al Falaj: Water Systems of the Gulf's Oases shows how it could again be relevant to the UAE's rapidly globalising cities. Based on studies of the few authentic examples of falaj channels still in use, the exhibition explores how the idea could be adapted for use today. As well as an effective agricultural system, Al Falaj is a utopian idea in nature. Applied over centuries of development, the channels have become places where public and private realms meet, facilitating exchange. It is also a fair way of dividing water, a measured way of allocating resources in a hot and dry climate.

Administering Body: Cultural Engineering
Design Team: Cultural Engineering; Case Design
Curators: Rashid Bin Shabib, Ahmed Bin Shabib, Samuel Barclay, Anne Geenen
Supporting Body: Embassy of the UAE in London, UK