Complex Made Simple

Warehouse421 announces Danish Architects ‘BIG’ as lead designers

Work has begun on the renovation of two warehouses within the context of Warehouse421 in Mina Zayed, transforming these spaces from their current state in to functional and conservational venues.

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) – the international architectural firm, globally recognized for their grass root ideals on sustainability and preservation have been commissioned by Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation as lead designers for Warehouse421.

Work has begun on the renovation of two warehouses within the context of Warehouse421 in Mina Zayed, transforming these spaces from their current state in to functional and conservational venues.

Embedded within the principal of sustainability and preservation, Warehouse421 aims to create dynamic spaces for diverse audiences as the latest cultural platform in Abu Dhabi. Located in the port area of Mina Zayed, transformed warehouses will set the stage for artistic expression, understanding, and further development throughout the UAE’s cultural community.

“BIG’s design for Warehouse421 is the unlikely hybrid of generic industrial modernism and traditional Arabian architecture. The new art gallery forms the first step in re-creating the industrial Mina Zayed port site as the birthplace of an authentic contemporary Arabian vernacular,” Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.

The design plans proposed by BIG presented an absolute minimal upgrade of the warehouse to ensure the space can exhibit artworks and provide annual cool temperatures utilizing Arabian geometric patterns preserving cultural references throughout. Including such features as concrete floors and white-painted steel creates that create a neutral backdrop for the artworks, the interior entails five courtyards of lush foliage, with the façades fully glazed providing natural light during the day. Perforated Corten plates imitate the rusty industrial sheds common throughout Mina Zayed, and cover the patio roofs and windows ensuring shade.

Bjarke Ingels will give a talk titled ‘Social Infrastructure’ on Thursday November 19th at 5pm, part of the Foundation’s Muntada talks programme during Abu Dhabi Art. In this talk, Ingels will review the current projects BIG is working on, including Warehouse421.

Founded in 2005 by Bjarke Ingels in Denmark, BIG have worked on a number of distinguishable structures around the world including the Danish Expo Pavilion, EXPO 2010, Shanghai, China, as well as on current projects such as Two World Trade Center, (United States), LEGO House, (Denmark), and the Audemars Piguet Headquarters, (Switzerland), amongst others. Since 2008, they have been acknowledged for their work through countless awards and nominations including the World Architecture Festival (2014), the American Planning Association National Planning Excellence Award for Urban Design for the (2015), and the American Institute of Architects National Honor Award for Architecture (2015), both for the Danish Maritime Museum.

From November 19-21, all audiences are invited to explore their world through the launch event that will present a programme of national, regional and international artists, designers and musicians through exhibitions, workshops and performance