The conversation explores the shifting role of the majlis and how this space of mediation and community is slowly shifting in form, function, and style. Adina Hempel and Riyad Joucka explore the question: What is the majlis of the future going to be, and what will it look like?


With backgrounds in architecture, both speakers study this unique gathering space out of personal interests: for Adina, it is the evolution of building styles in the Arabian Peninsula, and for Riyad it is the transformative role of 21st-century technology in preserving local identity. This conversation will challenge the role of heritage in identity building and how AI and additive technologies can help preserve architectural history.

Presented By

Neo Majlis

Riyad Joucka
Riyad Joucka is an architect, designer, entrepreneur, and researcher with a diverse portfolio of projects. In 2016, he founded MEAN* 'Middle East Architecture Network,' an innovative architecture practice based in Dubai, that unites specialized interdisciplinary creative talents. Alongside leading the MEAN* team, Riyad concurrently serves as an Assistant Professor and the Inaugural Research Fellow in Practice at Zayed University's College of Arts and Creative Enterprises (CACE). In this capacity, he delves into topics related to vernacular architecture and material experimentation, demonstrating his commitment to expanding architectural knowledge through scholarly investigation.

Adina Hempel
Adina Hempel is a registered architect, urban researcher, and Associate Professor at the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises at the Zayed University in Dubai. Her research investigates the
relationship between interior spaces, urban development, and cross-cultural influences in the Arabian Peninsula. She has conducted extensive research on the architectural and urban history of the UAE and the Arabian Peninsula and was part of the curatorial team for the first National Pavilion of the UAE at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia. She served as Head of Research for the GSM project at the Shindagha Museum in Dubai and has worked with the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth on a variety of UAE architecture-related projects and is a member of the Technical Committee for Modern Heritage of the UAE. Her work contributed to various exhibitions and publications such as the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, Venice Architecture Biennale, and Documenta Kassel.