Concrete in Dubai: Multifunctional Art Gallery by OMA
Location: Dubai (AE)
The former warehouse, which once stood empty, now offers 1,250 m² of space for public events, performances, presentations and exhibitions. All the spaces devoted to these purposes have been compactly arranged in the back of the building in order to generate the greatest possible area for events. The industrial ceilings, which are eight metres high, as well as the turning and sliding walls, allow a flexible floor-plan design. Areas from 70 to 600 m² will enable diverse spatial configurations. On each respective occasion, these configurations will lead visitors along various paths through the gallery. When the four gates are opened, even the exterior space can be used as an enlargement of the exhibition space.
OMA has replaced the original front of the warehouse with a polycarbonate façade featuring full-height doors. Open-air events can be experienced through this translucent shell, which delimits the building from the inner courtyard. Daylight can penetrate the pellucid gates even when they are closed. This strengthens the connection between inside and outside. The square openings in the sloping roofscape provide further sources of light.
While the interior space is designed to be flexible and neutral, the existing shell has been transformed in such a way that the multifunctional gallery stands out from the surrounding buildings: rough sprayed concrete covers the façade on Alserkal Avenue. Small shards of mirror mixed into the concrete make the gallery sparkle in the sun.
Although the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) has had a headquarters in Dubai since 2015, Concrete is the first project the company has realized in the United Arab Emirates. All the work was carried out exclusively by local enterprises.