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.
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.
‘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’.
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.’