This is the perspective behind this show, which highlights the vibrancy of metropolises such as Ankara in Turkey, Baghdad in Iraq, Tehran in Iran and Tangier in Morocco and how they are inhabited. Another issue that has been explored is the MENA's diaspora, leading to the transporting of culture to foreign cities.

Curated with the publishers of Dubai-based magazine Brownbook, the exhibition is divided into three sections: Architecture, Places and Societies. 'Architecture' features 10 models of public buildings selected by the Qatari architect and urbanist Fatma Al-Sahlawi and made in fire clay by Xeina Malki. Ranging from the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art to the Baghdad Gymnasium designed by Le Corbusier, these buildings were hoped to modernise and glorify the identity of the city. On the surrounding walls are photos of these places and people using them, showing how they are part of today's urban fabric.

Installation view »Mudun ن Urban Cultures in Transit«, 2017, © Vitra Design Museum, Photo: Roland Schmid
For 'Places', the curator Mohammed Elshaded created large-scale collages representing 10 cities, including Birzeit in the occupied West Bank, Tripoli in Libya, Damuscus in Syria and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Besides the collages are texts and plans shedding light on the cities' development.

The 'transit' issue is spotlighted in 'Societies', for which Amira Asad, a Brownbook staff writer, has focused on communities originating from the MENA and living in the diaspora. Encompassing photos, interview texts and sound pieces, this profiling of Tunisians in Paris, Palestinians in Santiago, Yemenis in Singapore and Iraqis in London captures their intercultural way of life and the architectural spaces that their communities have established.

Qatar University in Doha, Qatar Designed by Kamal El Kafrawi, 1974–1983. © Markus Elblaus
Indeed, the exhibition succeeds in offering insight into the particularities of the different cities and the role that architecture has played in shaping their identity. It's a far cry from the stereotypical imaging in the mainstream media.

Installation view »Mudun ن Urban Cultures in Transit«, 2017, © Vitra Design Museum, Photo: Roland Schmid
Beşiktaş Fish Market in Istanbul, Turkey, designed by Global Architectural Development, (GAD), 2008/2009. © Aydan Cinar
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Iran, designed by Kamran Diba, 1977. © Abbas Kowsari
Birzeit, Palestine, 2016, © Raed Abughazaleh
Al Nilain Mosque in Omdurman, Sudan by Gamar Eldowla Abdelgadir, 1976 – 1983. © Ala Kheir
Planetarium in Tripoli, Libyen, designed by Ulrich Müther. © Naziha Arebi