Hub of art

April 2017

The Jameel Arts Centre Dubai will foster knowledge and love for art, be a place for artists to work, and act as a meeting point for enthusiasts to see works from the region and beyond.

A new arts centre is currently being built at the tip of Dubai’s Culture Village by Art Jameel, a non-profit organisation that supports arts, education and heritage in the Middle East.

Scheduled to open in winter 2018, the project is at the substructure stage with piling works having been completed and the raft slab 90 per cent finished.

The Jameel Arts Centre Dubai is a 10,000-sq-m, three-storey multi-disciplinary space dedicated to the display, promotion and creation of art from across the Middle East and beyond. It is designed as a hub for educational and research initiatives, while its wider programming embraces collaboration and partnerships with local, regional and international artists, curators and organisations.

On site, Strabag Dubai, the contractor on the project, is currently engaged in the casting of the basement columns and shear walls and reinforcement for basement retaining wall, a spokesperson of Art Jameel tells Gulf Construction.

Designed by Serie Architects of the UK, the project has WME Engineering Consultants as the management consultant, IBDA Design as architectural supervision consultants, Buro Happold for structural and MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) design, and Emarat Al Sharq as architect of record.

Fady Mohammed Jameel, president of Art Jameel, says: “We are delighted to be embarking on a new phase of development for Art Jameel; strengthening our programmes in Saudi Arabia, across the Arab world and internationally, as well as founding our first permanent space, the Jameel Arts Centre Dubai.”

Overlooking the Dubai Creek, the centre includes more than 1,000 sq m of gallery space, plus a 300-sq-m open-access research centre dedicated to artists and cultural movements of the GCC and wider Arab world; additional flexible events spaces; a roof terrace (for film screenings and events); an outdoor sculpture area; and a café, restaurant and bookshop.

Conceived as a series of boxes of varying dimensions that are bound together by a one-storey-high colonnade, the Jameel Arts Centre Dubai is an intimate place for experiencing and producing art. The building’s intelligent design offers a flexible and rich curatorial potential – from small intimate gallery for enjoying smaller works to large galleries with a soaring height for large sculptures.

Connecting the exhibition spaces are public outdoor courtyards, which offer moments of repose and reflection as one moves from one gallery to another. 

The colonnade also works as an active social space, charging the edge of the building with activities and enlivening the waterfront promenade.

The massing of the building, its spatiality, and its façade articulation draws from the rich architectural tradition of the region – interpreted with a modern simplicity and elegance. The façade will comprise aluminium panels, with precast and in-situ concrete used for the colonnade.

Renowned landscape architect Anouk Vogel has drawn inspiration from the desert biome for the concept for the courtyards that punctuate the building: each outdoor space will represent a distinct desert environment, and include some rare plants sourced from the UAE and around the world.

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