Architects Wael Al Awar and Kazuma Yamao of Dubai and Tokyo-based studio waiwai ingeniously revive the iconic UAE palm frond "Hadeera" into an urban oasis, showcasing its enduring relevance for contemporary city life with sustainable salt-based materials, fostering community and connection amid the bustling urban landscape.

Architects Wael Al Awar and Kazuma Yamao, of the Dubai- and Tokyo-based studio waiwai, present Urban Hadeera. The hadeera is one of the most recognizable structures from the vernacular architecture of the UAE. It is striking in its simplicity: an open ring of palm fronds bound together to provide shelter against the wind and sand, and to protect the fires that are lit in the desert at night. The hadeera is a succinct but eloquent solution for our local conditions of climate and environment.

This prototype for an urban hadeera shows that the structure is just as relevant for our cities today as it has always been for rural contexts. In a busy urban environment, it brings people together in an intimate setting to read, reflect or have a conversation. The structure is made with sustainable, salt-based building materials, a vernacular architecture suited to our present and future.

Urban Hadeerabuilds on waiwai’s contextual approach to address social, environmental and technological questions through design. The firm’s research focuses on the climate crisis and strategies of design and materials that can form a new vocabulary, one that responds to cultural context and environmental urgency.