Opening: The Muqarnas pavilion — New South

CIVA is delighted to announce the opening of New South’s pavilion Muqarnas with a lecture performance by Mohamed Amer Meziane, a conversation between Meriem Chabani (New South), Blanga Gubbay and Anissa Touati, and musical interventions by Tarek Alsayed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022
18:00 > 21:00
CIVA, Rue de l'Ermitage 55, 1050 Brussels

Free access. 

Opening 14.06.22 


18:00 Introduction by Nikolaus Hirsch and Silvia Franceschini

18:15 Lecture performance by Mohamed Amed Meziane “Towards an eco-racial history of colonial modernity: a performative lecture about the Secularocene”

19:00 Meriem Chabani, Radhi Ben Hadid, Gorbon Ceramics in conversation with Daniel Blanga Gubbay and Anissa Touati


Mohamed Amer Meziane is a philosopher and musician. He recently published a book on the ecological and racial dimensions of imperial modernity titled Des empires sous la terre. He will be assistant professor at Brown University after four years as a research fellow at Columbia university.

Meriem Chabani is an architect, urban planner and founding partner at New South. Quoting bell hooks, her work puts "the margin at the center". By questioning power dynamics and stakeholder relations, her projects offer evolutive intersections between global South and global North. She is a recipient of the Europe 40under40 award from The European Centre for Architecture and The Chicago Athenaeum.

Daniel Blanga Gubbay is a Brussels-based curator and researcher. He is currently the artistic co-director of the Kunstenfestivaldesarts. He has worked as educator and independent curator in performances and public programs, among which: The Telepathic School (Ural Biennale, Yekaterinburg 2021), Yogurt and Other Spaces of Labour (Ashkal Alwan, Beirut 2021, together with Zeynep Öz), Four Rooms (2020), Sonic Dawn (Homo Novus, Riga 2019), Can Nature Revolt? (Manifesta, Palermo 2018), The School of Exceptions (Santarcangelo, 2016). 

Anissa Touati is an independent curator, curator-at-large at Paris Internationale, chief curator of the Thalie Foundation and former director of Contemporary Istanbul.

Tarek Alsayed Yahya is a musician from Syria living and working in Belgium since 2013 as an Oud player and teacher of oriental music. He has been teaching at the Muziekacademie of Sint-Niklaas since 2016.


New South


Throughout summer 2022, CIVA’s terrace becomes a place to discover new ways of being together. The architectural studio New South created a pavilion, Muqarnas, which interrogates the sacred and its meaning for public space and life. Muquarnas is a collaboration between New South, Radhi Ben Hadid and Gorbon Ceramics that aims to re-establish construction innovation as central to contemporary Islamic architecture.

Muqarnas is a decorative molding applied to a ceiling vault, common in traditional Islamic architecture. New South transforms the muqarnas from a decorative item into a cutting-edge structural system developed in collaboration with engineers and crafts people. Formed by interlocking pieces, it is designed using parametric computational tools and fabricated in industrial grade ceramic.

The half cupola on CIVA’s terrace creates a space of a conversation, centering narratives of the Global South, with a focus on sacred architecture as a field for invention. In secular societies, the sacred has all but disappeared from the urban realm, often confined to specific spaces that are socially isolated, topologically remote, and relatively empty. Muqarnas is a call for cities to reinvest in the notion of the sacred, which New South proposes can bring about processes of regeneration, care, and sanctuarizing for the built and natural environment. The restoration of a sacred covenant between people, places, and the environment establishes a framework for the creation of value outside the logic of development.

From June to September 2022, the cupola will become a stage for debates, performances, education, and encounters.

Muquarnas is a collaboration between New South, Radhi Ben Hadid, and Gorbon Ceramics that aims to re-establish construction innovation as central to contemporary Islamic architecture. This work is a study for New South’s project of a mosque in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.

New South is an international architecture and urban design practice based in Paris, France. The office researches and engages with territories in tension: designing, building, negotiating, and representing post- and neo-colonial contexts. By questioning power dynamics and stakeholder relations, their projects propose evolutive intersections between the Global North and Global South. The office was the recipient of a 2014 LafargeHolcim Next Generation Award and the Europan 14 in 2017, and was named as an expert by the Fédération Nationale des Agences d’Urbanisme in preparation for the Africa-France Summit. The office’s 2018 installation If Algae Mattered, a theoretical reworking of Mediterranean borders, was exhibited at the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial. In 2020, New South won the Europe 40 under 40 award from the European Centre for Architecture and the Chicago Athenaeum. New South is an office of four partners from Algeria, France, and the United Kingdom: Meriem Chabani (team leader), Etienne Chobaux, John Edom, and Maya Nemeta.

Radhi Ben Hadid (France, Tunisia) is a structural engineer from Tunisia based in Paris, France. He specializes in patrimonial architecture.

Gorbon Ceramics is a manufacturer of handmade ceramic tiles based in Turkey.