Concrete, Dutch firm OMA’s first completed project in Dubai, opened this week in Alserkal Avenue, set to become the district’s central events hub, complete with moving walls to accommodate a number of separate events simultaneously.
The building was designed by OMA’s Dubai office headed by Iyad Alsaka, with the design led by architect Kaveh Dabiri.
The 1,250 m2 former warehouse displays OMA’s continued work in the preservation and repurposing of existing buildings, particularly in the Middle East region.
The 8m high ceilings, pivoting and sliding walls, and a translucent façade with full-height doors seamlessly connects Concrete’s interior with the large, central courtyard located just outside the building premises.
“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,” said Rem Koolhaas, OMA’s founding partner at the press conference.
“[With] 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.”
Koolhaas gave a public lecture today in The Yard, located outside Concrete, talking about OMA’s involvement in Dubai and the region, and how the city forced the architecture studio to reinvent the way it looks at urbanism.
He also spoke about some of the OMA projects that never made it off the ground in the Middle East, citing the 2008 financial crisis as one of the reasons.
Look out for our full interview with Rem Koolhaas about OMA’s work in the region as well as Kaveh Dabiri, the architect behind Concrete’s design, next week.