OMA kickstart 'architectural evolution' with vast Dubai arts hub Concrete

This building is totally produced in Dubai; it is not a foreign ideal, and that I think is significant
– Rem Koolhaas, OMA founding partner

Concrete – a multi-functional cultural space designed by OMA for Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue – officially opened to the public yesterday (15 March).

Located in the Al Qouz industrial area, Alserkal Avenue was founded in 2007, with the aim of promoting cultural initiatives in the region. In the intervening years it has become the emirate’s most important arts hub, with twenty-five galleries and art spaces.

OMA were commissioned to address the district’s growing need for a centrally located public space that can host a variety of cultural programmes, including exhibitions, performances and lectures.

The studio have created the space inside a 1,250sq m (13,500sq ft) former warehouse. To enhance flexibility, multiple configurations can be achieved due to the enormous pivoting and sliding walls and the 8m high ceilings.

A translucent façade with full-height doors “seamlessly connects” Concrete’s interior with the complex’s large central courtyard – further enhancing the possibilities for using the space.

The aim, according to Iyad Alsaka, OMA’s partner in charge of the project, was to “keep the interior as neutral and flexible as possible, while transforming the existing exterior so that it would stand out from the surrounding buildings.”

Rem Koolhaas, OMA’s founding partner, added: “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.”

The director of Alserkal Avenue, Vilma Jurkute, said OMA’s “unique aesthetic” and approach to the Concrete project has “started a dialogue for architectural evolution in the United Arab Emirates.”

This is the practice’s first built project in the UAE, and they collaborated with local firms on the engineering and interior design.

The first exhibition taking place at the new venue is called Syria: Into the Light, which will be on view until 3 April 2017.

OMA have enjoyed a busy few months, completing new cultural buildings in London, Miami and Quebec and receiving planning approval for the Factory arts hub in Manchester.

OMA  Dubai  Concrete  Rem Koolhaas  architecture  design  UAE  Alserkal Avenue  
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01 Dec 2016

UPDATE: Rem Koolhaas' cultural hub for Manchester wins planning approval

15 Mar 2016

OMA design major arts hub for Dubai as city expands cultural offerings

Concrete – a multi-functional cultural space designed by OMA for Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue – officially opened to the public yesterday (15 March). Located in the Al Qouz industrial area, Alserkal Avenue was founded in 2007, with the aim of promoting cultural initiatives in the region. In the intervening years it has become the emirate’s most important arts hub, with twenty-five galleries and art spaces. OMA were commissioned to address the
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The arts hub is located in a former industrial warehouse / Mohamed Somji, courtesy Alserkal Avenue
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