Tarabot by theOtherDada: Biodiversity and sustainability at the Jameel Arts Centre for COP28

theOtherDada, Adib Dada,

Kristina Sergeeva for SeeingThings,


Architecture and Culture,

Argilla, Bamboo, Terra cruda, Straw,

circular economy , Refurbishment, Landscaping, economia circolare,

Tarabot: Weaving A Living Forum, inspired by an idea by architect Adib Dada of studioOtherDada in Beirut, is a sustainable pavilion inaugurated during COP28 at the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai. Made with locally sourced materials such as clay, mycelium, date palm waste and upcycled fabric, the pavilion incarnates a circular, ecological ethic and promotes biodiversity.

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Tarabot by theOtherDada: Biodiversity and sustainability at the Jameel Arts Centre for COP28
In an initiative promoting sustainable architecture and awareness of the environment, Art Jameel presented "Tarabot: Weaving A Living Forum": an immersive pavilion designed by Adib Dada of regenerative consultancy and architectural practice theOtherDada, which our readers will remember for its Riverless Beirut initiative and reforestation by the SUGI method, was a focal point for discussion, presentations and community programmes during COP28. The project was commissioned by Art Jameel and supported by Abdul Latif Jameel Company Ltd. of Saudi Arabia.

According to Adib Dada, architect and founder of theOtherDada, Tarabot: Weaving a Living Forum acts as an interspecies ecotone, a meeting-point where two biological communities are harmoniously integrated. The innovative pavilion is located in Jameel Arts Centre, in the sculpture park on the Jaddaf waterfront. Jameel Arts Centre is one of Dubai’s top contemporary art institutions, set up by independent organisation Art Jameel, presenting solo and group shows curated by the Art Jameel Collection and regional and global partners. Designed by Serie Architects, the 10,000 square metre structure on three levels features seven gardens by landscape architect Anouk Vogel, representing local and global desert biomes, adjacent to the Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park created in partnership with Dubai Holding.

Here Tarabot offers a shared space promoting interactions between human beings and a variety of other species and organisms. The project offers great support for biodiversity, creating synergies between the world of nature and environments created by people. Adib Dada comments: "Tarabot is our first project that meaningfully bridges our work of building habitats for humans with building habitats for other organisms. By re-integrating our place within nature, we are able to offer a shared forum for humans and other organisms to thrive in the city. Tarabot – which means ‘to weave together’ - offers a shared space for humans and other organisms to come together as interdependent equals, sharing food, water and habitat."
In his architectural approach, Dada uses modular components and nested cones, made showcasing use of sustainable locally sourced materials such as clay, mycelium, date palm waste and upcycled fabric to underline his commitment to ecological sustainability. Dada conceives of his creation as something more than an ordinary pavilion: it is an appeal for change and renewal of urban spaces. 

Tarabot’s design incorporates four basic pillars reflecting its concept, construction and de-installation: Soil, Water, Plants and Energy. The four pillars underline the pavilion’s commitment to sustainable practices throughout its life cycle. When it is dismantled, Tarabot’s modular components will be repurposed for domestic planting on land, while the structure itself will become an underwater habitat, favouring life both on land and under the sea. 
Tarabot also plays a social role, as it is not just a physical space but a platform for dialogue and action. The pavilion presents artworks by Dubai-based artist Solimar Miller drawing attention to the impact of urbanisation on the environment and illustrating the importance of preserving native biodiversity. Tarabot hosted planting workshops during the United Arab Emirates’ annual sustainability festival, Down to Earth, contributing to wider-ranging conversation about climate change and therefore going well beyond its intended use during COP28. With theOtherDada’s Tarabot, Art Jameel lays the foundations for a long-lasting commitment to sustainability in the arts, demonstrating how it is possible to lead the way in innovation and mould a future in which art, architecture and ecology are woven together.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: theOtherDada
Client: Art Jameel
Location: Dubai, UAE
Year: 2023
Images: Kristina Sergeeva for SeeingThings