OMA has been commissioned to complete its first built project in the united arab emirates as part of dubai’s alserkal avenue. Previewed during dubai art week, the project entails the transformation of 4 warehouses into an event space that reflects the industrial and cultural character of the neighbourhood. It is hoped that the completed scheme, which is expected to open in fall 2016, will bring greater attention to intelligent design practices in the city, and promote discussion regarding the role of architects and artists.
Capable of hosting large exhibitions, performances and conferences, the design includes a flexible floor plan with four 8.10 meter walls, which can rotate or slide, allowing for a variety of different configurations. The entrance is defined by full-height sliding doors that strengthen the continuity between indoor and outdoor space. ‘The main strategy for the design of the event space is to blur the boundary between interior and exterior by bringing view and daylight into the space, and extending the action and events to the public square outside’, explains Iyad Alsaka, OMA’s MEA partner in charge. Externally, the existing shell is clad with a customized concrete spray, visually distinguishing the building from the surrounding warehouses.