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The Riwaq

Brighton Festival is England’s largest annual curated multi-arts festival. The 2022 festival was curated by two guest directors; the inspirational Syrian architect and author Marwa Al-Sabouni and Brighton based artist Tristan Sharps. With a shared a passion for architecture and its impact on lives, they chose the festival theme ‘rebuild’. Central to the festival was a specially commissioned structure designed by Marwa Al-Sabouni and Ghassan Jansiz; the Riwaq.

Invited by Marwa to collaborate, I was honoured to guide the festival through the process of bringing the Riwaq to life; from advising on materials choice to pulling together an exceptional team of engineers and fabricators. From a very beautiful sketch drawn by Marwa in Homs in Syria to the completed large scale wooden structure, the Riwaq became a truly celebratory gathering place on Hove seafront, an icon of the festival and an embodiment of Marwa’s belief in the positive power of architecture.

Steve Webb of world class engineering practice Webb Yates shared structural engineering and design expertise. The Riwaq was built from timber, proving that wood is both sustainable, and stunning.

Photography by Jim Stephenson

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