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‘Kunsthalle-inspired’ contemporary arts centre in Dubai completed by Serie Architects

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The 10,000m² Jameel Arts Centre features 10 gallery spaces as well as seven desert gardens

Located on the Jaddaf waterfront, the Jameel Arts Centre by London-based Serie Architects includes 1,000m² of ‘kunsthalle-inspired’ gallery spaces as well as research and events spaces, a roof terrace, restaurant and book/design shop. The scheme was designed for Art Jameel, an independent organisation supporting arts, education and heritage in the Middle East. 

The project consists of a series of rectilinear forms linked by a colonnade, which connect interior gallery spaces and outdoor gardens and courtyards. A material palette of raw concrete and semi-reflective aluminium is designed to complement the arts centre’s waterside location. The clustered volumes create a number of self-shading courtyards which allow for cross-ventilation. 

A series of seven courtyard gardens designed by landscape architect Anouk Vogel feature 33 species of plants, including endangered plants such as a Sesame Bush which is between 220 and 300 years old. The scheme also includes an open-air sculpture park designed by Dubai-based architects ibda, which connects the Jameel Arts Centre and surrounding Jaddaf corniche. 

Mohamed somji 05

Mohamed somji 05

Architect’s view

We worked very closely with Art Jameel, listening to their needs, responding with architectural ideas and discursively refining them. The architecture that emerged is one that is able to accommodate a wide range of uses and continues to evolve with the city it serves. It acts as a background structure for the life of the centre to unfold, without disappearing from view. Positioning galleries around courtyard gardens and framed views of the waterfront also serves to create moments of rest and connection, while providing potential spaces for commissioned installations.

Christopher Lee, principal, Serie Architects



Project data

Start date 2016
Completion date 2018
Gross internal floor area 10,000m²
Gross (internal + external) floor area 11,500m²
Form of contract or procurement route Undisclosed
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect (Stage 1-4) Serie Architects
Executive architect (Stage 5 onwards) Ibda Design
Client ART Jameel, Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives
Structural engineer Buro Happold
M&E consultant Buro Happold
Lighting design consultant Buro Happold
QS Gardiner & Theobald
Landscape consultant Anouk Vogel
Acoustic consultant Buro Happold
Fire consultant Buro Happold
Main contractor Strabag

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