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A striking new architectural landmark is set to grace Dubai’s glittering cityscape, as designs have been unveiled for a contemporary art museum cloaked in an innovative ‘double skin’. Conceived by pioneering architects Kalbod Studio, the museum will combine an outer semi-transparent membrane with an inner sculptural layer made from rammed earth, creating a unique interplay of light, space and materiality.
Evoking canyons and caves, the Inner earthy shell will provide a tranquil setting to contemplate the museum’s world-class collection of modern and contemporary artworks. Yet glimpses of the activities within will be visible through the diaphanous outer skin, enticing passersby and connecting the building to the urban realm.
“The layered space allows artistic and cultural gatherings to co-exist with the city outside,” explains Kalbod Studio founder Karim Kalbod, “forming a seamless transition between internal and external.” The futuristic design reflects Kalbod’s ‘Subject-Object’ philosophy, giving equal primacy to the museum structure and its contents/inhabitants.
Sited near icons like the Burj Khalifa, the new museum aims to act as a pedestrian-friendly hub, reclaiming space from cars to foster communal culture. Visitors will approach via a ramp pathway through Burj Park, arriving at an entrance framed by the veil-like membrane, tantalising them with hints of the otherworldly arena within.
Once inside, a dramatic central ramp spirals through the museum’s stacked galleries, drawing people gradually upwards through osmotic spatial experience. By prioritising human connections over vehicular traffic, Kalbod’s bold concept points the way for a more progressive, people-centred urbanism in Dubai.
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