Jameel Arts Centre, one of the first independent contemporary arts institutions in Dubai, is designed by UK-based Serie Architects led by principal Christopher Lee, with Dubai-based waiwai as consultant architects.
The building is comprised of three floors of gallery spaces; an open-access research centre and library; dedicated projects and events spaces; a rooftop terrace designed for installations, film screenings and events; and a restaurant and shop and espresso bar.
The architecture, as well as the thinking behind Jameel Arts Centre’s curatorial programme, is influenced by the building’s position on the Dubai Creek, and includes a subtle play on interior and exterior spaces, aiming to maximise a sense of openness and accessibility. Light is funnelled into the galleries and library through seven gardens which punctuate the building, re-set the mind, and allow art, books and the community to directly interact with flora and the outdoor.
Multifunctional in its design, the building is conceived as a series of boxes of varying dimensions that are bound together by a one-storey colonnade. This allows for maximum curatorial flexibility: project and exhibition spaces range from the intimate to double-height galleries for total installations and more imposing works.
While the colonnade and courtyard-style gardens draw on the rich architectural traditions of the region, the building is resolutely contemporary and clad in shimmering white aluminium, contrasting with grey fairface concrete pillars and black terrazzo walkways.