Design of art museum to evoke spirit of Dubai

The Museum of Middle Eastern Modern Art will reflect both the modern city and its seafaring past, say its architects.

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DUBAI // The Museum of Middle Eastern Modern Art, the first such venture in the region, will reflect both the modern city and its seafaring past, architects said yesterday at the project's official launch. Construction of the museum, on an island in the Culture Village along Dubai Creek, is scheduled to start within six months. "Dubai Creek was once the only method of transportation and livelihood," said Ahmed Bukhash, the principal architect at Injaz, which is leading the project. "We wanted to interpret the language of the waves, the shape of the dhow boat."

Mr Bukhash said the futuristic appearance of the building was intended to be in stark contrast to the more traditional buildings by which the museum will be surrounded. Ben Van Berkel, an architect with the Dutch firm UN Studio, which participated in the design, said the museum "communicated" with the social fabric of the city. "The image of the building makes me ask questions: 'Is it a boat? Is it a whale?' I like that. The building is like art. Its design makes people want to go back to it and rethink it."

Mr Van Berkel said the organisation of interior space, particularly in a museum, plays an important role in how a building is used. The design, which sets out the museum's interior in a clockwise fashion, would allow visitors to "flow" through the interior space. "We carefully looked at clockwise planning. We created large exhibition spaces. In that way we hope to achieve social interactiveness." Mr Bukhash said the Government is providing support to make the museum a success. "People are coming to Dubai and they're focused on the cultural aspect of it. Now we're going to start catering to the arts."