In a context where everything is within reach, easily acquired from anywhere, and fuelled by a capitalist developmental process that has eroded local identity to the extent of destroying historical neighbourhoods, a fundamental question arises: What does it mean to be local?

Al Qasimiyah School has evolved from a building defined by its perimeter walls to become a public venue with outreach to its immediate vicinity and the wider city. The new pedestrian access to the site from the North and West converge on a platform, presenting an opportunity to create a welcoming threshold.

“Raw Threshold” defines this space — forming a shade that creates favourable conditions for inhabitation. Wood for the structure is sourced from the Sharjah Electricity, Water, and Gas Authority (SEWA), which has commenced the replacement of wooden utility poles with metallic ones. The shade is composed of palm tree mats, widely available regionally and used in various ways. This approach results in a raw and tactile intervention, crafted with natural materials that allow for intimate discourse with the direct context.

“Raw Threshold” will endure as long as needed, providing the flexibility to be assembled and disassembled in other locations. Upon the triennial’s conclusion, the poles can return to their depot and be repurposed, while the mats' versatility will induce another use. These materials will naturally degrade — harmoniously completing the ecological cycle of life.

Raw Threshold