RAK Convention and Exhibition Centre by OMA


RAK Convention and Exhibition Centre by OMA

Here is a full set of images, plans and diagrams of the giant RAK Convention and Exhibition Centre for the new city at Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates.


Designed by Rem Koolhaas and Reinier de Graaf of Office for Metropolitan Architecture and looking like the Death Star, the centre consists of a spherical glass and steel nest and a very long, low building raised off the ground.


>> see more architectural projects in the Gulf on our Google Map of the region


Text from the architects follows:




Project: RAK Convention and Exhibition Centre
Status: Concept
Client: Rakeen Development
Location: Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates
Budget: N/A
Site: Gateway City, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
Program: Mixed Use: Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hotels, Offices, Residential, Shopping, Restaurants


Partners in charge:
Rem Koolhaas, Reinier de Graaf

Samir Bantal, Daniele de Benedictis, Anne-Sophie Bernard, Philippe Braun, Adam Frampton, Martin Galovsky, Beth Hughes, Pieter Janssens, Ravi Kamisetti, Bin Kim, Barend Koolhaas, So Jung Lee, Mirai Morita, Charles-Antoine Perreault, Ian Robertson


RAK Convention and Exhibition Centre Text

Unlike the traditional high-rise building, the design for the Ras al Khaimah Convention and Exhibition Centre accommodates all primary functions, such as the convention centre, hotel rooms, apartments, offices and retail space in a giant sphere.


A low-rise building adjacent to the sphere `hovers` above the ground beside the exhibtion centre, retail and additional hotel rooms.


Access to the new buildings is provided by a new road system linking it to the city creating a direct connection between the new buildings and the exisiting urban structure.


What is left to be invented when it comes to the creation of a landmark?


So far the 21st century – in a desperate effort to differentiate one building from the next – has been characterized by a manic production of extravagant shapes. Paradoxically, the result is a surprisingly monotonous urban substance, where any attempt at ‘difference’ is instantly neutralized in a sea of meaningless architectural gestures.


RAK is confronted with an important choice: Does it join so many others in this mad, futile race or does it become the first to offer a new credibility?


This project represents a final attempt at distinction through architecture:not through the creation of the next bizarre image, but through a return to pure form.


Invented long ago, both the sphere and the bar explicitly abandon claims to formal invention or ‘originality’. (The sphere even existed before man itself…) Yet both geometries still continue to feed the architectural imagination: perfectly autonomous shapes, within their bounds the promise of a perfect world – made possible only by the seamless integration of engineering.


In spite of their apparent simplicity the sphere and the bar could come to represent a milestone in the construction of the new RAK and provide it with a powerful universal symbol: Western and Eastern, futuristic and primordial, contemporary and timeless.




Posted on Friday May 11th 2007 at 9:09 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • david

    I wonder why every people must critisize the work of famous architects. Seems like everyone thinks he could do it better. Let freedom be and stop giving critics just because not everyone of us has the luck to do what he wants…

  • workingstiff


    read a book.

    …preferrably something NOT from the new age self-help section this time.

  • Hamaky

    I really think that is a very very strange design and i can feel that it contains a lot of mystery more than entertainment with this bad light and the black ugly color,,

  • niki

    The shape of this building is the right answer to climatic change.
    It foresees the possibility of increased wind velocity.
    Adds earthquake resistance compared to conventional shapes.
    Its self centered configuration makes it thermically self sustainable.
    Buckminster Fuller meets corporate needs.
    Dubai? Antarctica

  • vivian vincent

    Gotta love the total absence of connection with public trnasport, but then again its dubai, DOSNT HAVE PT… I wonder if this building will have the ability to fly, not just “hover”… “RAK taking the exhibition to sky”

  • hilarious comments, they skewer this ridiculous building!

    not only does it’s form resemble the Death Star, but the overall feeling of mechanical abstraction is similar to the Empire, with it’s faceless Stormtroopers and lack of humanity. it’s an object building, the latest fetishistic building by Koolhaus, alienated from it’s context, as if it just landed for refueling.

  • cacas

    bonito, mas triste. Ver Dubai me causa arrepios. Tudo lindo, arquitetura principalmente. Mas deveriamos estar nos preocupando, como arquitetos, com a quantidade de material usado. Todos criticam forma porem ninguem critica a extracao de recursos. Dubai esta usando recursos do mundo todo. O planeta fornece mao de obra e materiais para a construcao de uma nova cidade no deserto. Novas ilhas est’ao sendo criadas com terra de outros paises. Acho que deveriamos adotar um novo conceito realmente. Sustentavel realmente. Todos os arquitetos que estao projetando em Dubai, Angola, deveriam primeiramente pensar no que estao tirando do planeta. Esta na hora de todas as `Etrelas da Morte` serem destruidas conceitualmente e jamais construidas. Quem sabe um Jedi para tarefa tao ardua.
    Os conceitos de sustentabilidade atual em Dubai sao vergonhosos.
    Por favor parem com isso. Deixem o EGOarquitetonico de lado, nessa fase de incerteza sobre o futuro do planeta.

  • obi wan


  • bayou billy

    The funniest part about this article is all the losers in the comments section who don’t get the joke/are sad that they are CAD monkeys who will never think of anything like this.

  • This is quite credible as a piece of architecture/theory. So few know any history today that they are quick to discredit any ideas that have already been explored and theorized, and, by the way, accepted. Most of the comments are obvoiusly made by complete ignoramuses who have no background in modern architecture.

    This is a study directly relating to the ideas of Ivan Leonidov and the Russian Constructivist pre-1960. They sought an enlightend architecture by the synthesis and expression of pure geometric compositions exactly like this one by OMA. It is theoretical in nature, but what I think Koolhaas has achieved is that the modernist ideal can and should be transformed in to contemporary realities, theoretical or not.