OMA’s first project in dubai has been inaugurated in the city’s expanding alserkal avenue arts district. announced during 2016 dubai art week, the brief for ‘concrete’ tasked the firm with transforming four warehouses into a flexible events venue with dimensions more typical of industrial spaces.

OMA in dubai alserkal avenue concrete designboom
all images © mohamed somji / alserkal avenue

 

 

the architecture of the ‘concrete’ project showcases two distinct characteristics: one side being OMA’s recognized use of a translucent façade, and the other, tilting volumes enveloped in a dark concrete spray, used to visually distinguish the alserkal avenue building from the surrounding warehouses. inside, the 600 square meter space features double-height ceilings and movable walls that can be adapted to provide seamless indoor-outdoor experiences.

OMA in dubai alserkal avenue concrete designboom
‘concrete’ is a collection of warehouses that have been conserved and re-imagined

 

 

dubai is one of the cities that has had a deep impact on our work, and I am very happy that this particular building is our first effort here,’ explained rem koolhaas, founder of OMA. ‘in ‘concrete’, we are not introducing a new shape but instead were able to infiltrate an existing building with an arts institution. this building is totally produced in dubai; it is not a foreign ideal, and that I think is significant’.

OMA dubai alserkal avenue concrete designboom
with multiple configurations, the interior space has double-height ceilings and movable walls

 

 

the opening will bring attention to large-scale art exhibitions, symposia, conferences, conceptual fashion presentations, film screenings and corporate events, as well as private functions — held to enliven the growing dubai arts district. over the last decade, alserkal avenue has grown and evolved organically with the arts and culture scene of the united arab emirates,’ says abdelmonem bin eisa alserkal, patron and founder of alserkal avenue. ‘the introduction of ‘concrete’ marks a new milestone in the cultural advancement of the region.’

OMA dubai alserkal avenue concrete designboom
the pioneering project marks the first use of flexible, adaptive architecture in the united arab emirates

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inside, the design includes a flexible floor plan with four movable walls

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the translucent façade shown completely closed

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the exterior of ‘concrete’, designed by office for metropolitan architecture (OMA)

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