“Secrets of a Digital Garden: 50 flowers, 50 villages” curated by DS22 tutors Yara Sharif and Nasser Golzari at the Chicago Architecture Biennial, 19 September 2019 – 5 January 2020

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Dr. Yara Sharif and Dr. Nasser Golzari from the School of Architecture + Cities will be taking part in the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial.

In a collaborative project with Riwaq: centre for architectural conservation, Yara Sharif and Nasser Golzari will be curating the exhibition entitled Secrets of a Digital Garden: 50 flowers, 50 villages.

Secrets of a Digital Garden is a future imaginary scenario set up in rural Palestine in the form of a digital garden with 50 interactive flowers representing 50 Palestinian villages. The work draws on their collaborative work with Riwaq on revitalising 50 Palestinian historic fabrics and their on-going research by design as founders of NG Architects and Palestine Regeneration Team (PART).

Nothing is conventional in this garden. 50 slices of earth containing ‘digital’ flowers will be brought to Chicago to narrate the absurd dis-connectivity of Palestine and the attempt to reclaim it through the 50 Villages Project. Underneath the surface, a process of production is in place. Capsules containing physical and digital DNA is trapped in each flower to capture and share the story of the 50 Villages.

The exhibition explores new means to navigate the landscape of Palestine using digital fabrication and film.


The 2019 edition of Chicago Architecture Biennial is directed by Yesomi Umolu and is titled ‘ …and other such stories’.

The opening will take place on September 19, 2019, and will stay open till January 5, 2020.

The event promises to form an expansive and multi-faceted exploration of the field of architecture and the built environment globally. Developed through a research-led approach, the curatorial team Paulo Tavares, Sepake Angiama — led by Umolu — draws on the spatial, historical, and socio-economic conditions of Chicago to consider questions of land, memory, rights, and civic participation…’

Yara Sharif and Nasser Golzari are award-winning architects and academics with an interest in design as a mean to facilitate and empower ‘forgotten’ communities, while also interrogating the role of architecture politics and social commitment. Combining research with design, their work runs parallel between the architecture practice NG Architects, London and the design studio at the University of Westminster and their design-led research group Palestine Regeneration Team (PART). Their work has been exploring new means to rethink the Palestinian landscape through speculative scenarios and live projects.

Their work has won the RIBA President’s Award for Research amongst other awards.

The installation is done with the support of the University of Westminster and the Fabrication Lab, Golzari NG Architects, London and Palestine Regeneration Team (PART).

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