During the opening of Abu Dhabi’s newest cultural hub Warehouse 421, Bjarke Ingels, founder of BIG who is behind the design for the project spoke up about the role of architecture in society during the Q&A session, following his talk.
“I think architecture is how we human beings create and recreate the world we want to live in,” he said. “And I think it is a pity that I think architects have been often rather bad at capturing the attention and imagination of their fellow citizens so I think a lot of people think that architecture has to do with skyscrapers, facades, styles and they might not think architecture is actually how we as species decided to organise the world.
Warehouse421 is located in the Mina Zayed Port neighbourhood, where BIG, commissioned by Salma Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, picked out two existing warehouses and transformed them into a single arts and culture hub absorbing the character and materials of the surrounding area.
“I think projects like Warehouse 421 are important,” Ingels commented, “because 99 per cent of the city is our industries, our offices, parks, where we live and go to school et cetera, and let’s say one per cent is all the cultural palaces. And if we can make the 99 per cent as full of care as possible, then we will end up having really amazing cities.”
He continued: “And if we take a neighbourhood like the fish market and the industrial port and gradually turn it into a lively place then Abu Dhabi will be a much richer city where not only the beautiful mosques and beautiful museums or beautiful hotels exist but also all the other spaces are cared for in the same way”.