Bjarke Ingels wraps the Warehouse421 cultural center with Cor-ten steel in Abu Dhabi

Architecture International
(Credit: designMENA)

(Courtesy designMENA)

The Bjarke Ingels Group has finished another one—this time in the Middle East.

A three-day festival "Explore your World" celebrated the grand opening of BIG-designed Warehouse421 (Credit: Warehouse421)

A three-day festival, “Explore your World”, celebrated the grand opening of BIG-designed Warehouse421 (Courtesy Warehouse421)

The Copenhagen- and New York–based architecture firm’s recently completed project in Abu Dhabi, a new cultural exhibition space called Warehouse421, just opened, prompting a celebratory three-day festival featuring live musical performances, a myriad of exhibits, and interactive workshops led by art and design professionals.

The project, which was commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, an organization providing support for education, arts, and cultural initiatives, is part of the revitalization of the Abu Dhabi warehouse district in the port area of Mina Zayed.

(Credit: Warehouse421)

(Courtesy Warehouse421)

The new art hub, formerly a pair of tin shed warehouses, was upgraded to encompass dynamic art gallery spaces separated by a series of five verdant courtyards, representing an important vernacular element in Middle Eastern architecture and culture.

Concrete floors and white-painted steel establish a neutral interior ambiance for the viewing of artworks. A perforated mesh skin of Cor-ten steel employs Arabian geometric patterns while also echoing the rusty industrial sheds that characterize the surrounding district. The Cor-ten steel protects an insulating layer of lightweight and efficient sandwich panels.

Construction photograph of Warehouse421's exterior (Credit: designMENA)

Construction photograph of Warehouse421’s exterior. (Courtesy designMENA)

(Credit: DesignMENA)

(Courtesy DesignMENA)

Also featured is outdoor exhibition space, where local vegetation and urban furniture create an “artificial desert landscape.”

Responding to public demand for a new primary exhibition venue in the capital city, Warehouse421 is set to become a new cultural destination. It will showcase a roster of gallery shows and public programs, setting the stage for creativity throughout Abu Dhabi.

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