Museum of Middle Eastern Modern Art
by UNStudio



Dutch architects UNStudio have sent us these images of a planned arts and retail complex in Dubai, UAE, to include the Museum of Middle Eastern Modern Art.


The 25,000 square metre project will house a number of museums, including the Museum of Middle Eastern Art, as well as performance areas, a hotel, and a shopping centre.


The complex will form part of Dubai's 'Culture Village' with construction expected to be completed in 2011.


The following is from UNStudio:


Museum of Middle East Modern Art, Khor Dubai, UAE, 2008

MOMEMA: first part of a new cultural hub in Dubai

Plans are in progress for a Museum of Middle East Modern Art (MOMEMA). At the basis of the Museum is the strategic vision of making the UAE a hub for multicultural understanding.


The museum will be a celebration of the importance of Khor Dubai (Dubai Creek) as a new cultural hub within Dubai as a global city. This new cultural hub, the so-called Culture Village, will be located on 40 million square feet of land in the historic district of Jadaf.


In addition to the Museum of Middle East Modern Art, this landmark project will include an amphitheatre for live performances and international cultural festivals, an exhibition hall and smaller museums displaying local and international art, as well as a shipyard for traditional dhow builders. It will also include residential, commercial and retail zones.


It is envisaged that MOMEMA will hold a variety of spaces to exhibit Arts and Culture such as exhibitions, art galleries, leasable workshop spaces, auditorium, and amphitheatre for live performances and international festivals.


In addition, MOMEMA offers a boutique hotel with 60 keys and a boutique retail promenade on the active Culture Village waterfront, as well as a high end signature restaurant on the top level, with 360 degree views of Dubai Creek.


The Museum of Middle East Modern Art was launched in June by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. UNStudio, based in The Netherlands, has been selected to design the Museum.


Ben van Berkel, the co-founder and Principal Architect of UNStudio is an experienced designer of museums and a variety of public projects.


Ben van Berkel about the Museum of Middle Eastern Modern Art

‘In MOMEMA Dubai we recognize the opportunity to create an entirely new type of museum, which consists of a vibrant urban centre, where professionals, collectors and public meet each other. In this way, MOMEMA will be a community-building institution within the city, and offer to both visitors and residents a continuously changing palette of experiences and events.’


‘The building is positioned to take full advantage of the prominent location in the Culture Village. With its Dhow-like prow rising up, the building offers panoramic views to the surroundings, and vice versa.’


‘Inside, the design of this new museum stimulates contemplation, but by other means than enforcing a restricted optical field. There are no abrupt transitions. The space (the time) you have left behind is undividedly part of the space you are in now, is part of your ecological field, is still perceptible, still surrounding you; the art contained in those spaces follows this principle. Formats, mediums, and times can be effortlessly arranged together and rearranged. There are never too many people; this museum thrives on audiences, vernissages, and spectacle. In the MOMEMA, public, event, art and business meet each other and feed on each other.’

The museum will cover an area of 25,000 square meters and is expected to be completed in January 2011.

More projects by UNStudio on Dezeen:


MY Chair


The Changing Room


Ta Lee Plaza


Louis Vuitton flagship store


Post Rotterdam


Five Franklin Place


World's Longest Table For All Cultures


Hall 11 at IMM Cologne

Posted on Tuesday November 25th 2008 at 2:32 am by Rob Ong. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Hals Pal

    Calatrava meets Zaha.

  • Ibram

    Nice form, seems that the vocabulary inspired by some futuristic car design…but nothing cultural about it…Despite the fact that this project is located at the only authentic area left in Dubai, the design disregards it and focuses on ‘view’…!

  • Ahmed

    Fugly !! I do Not want this in my city……what are they thinking ?

  • *MIRTEC*

    why is the same arab in every dubai-project?
    and most of all: who pays him??

  • jepuseyo


  • zetre

    Woohoo! The recession is over!! Finally..

  • mao

    Love the whale… but where is Pinocchio

  • i like UNStudio’s works but i don’t like the idea of all inclusive buildings.the mass is just too big.i think functions can be seperated when they are different (like hotel and museum) although i don’t really know the site maybe it needs a big mass something like that.

  • Tyler

    Zaha? Is that you?

  • OLGV.

    really sexy, but.. symmetric ? :|

  • matt

    i really miss small rooms museum, instead of those super huge open spaces with a sculpture in the middle

    now i really look forward the “2011 completion”
    once again, something expensive and unbuildable

  • Ben

    un goes zaha, goes ito, goes calatrava …
    very nice lines and dynamics though!
    Too bad they’ve put it into a city that, although booming now, will seriously die out within the next century …

  • silicon m

    Ben Van Berkle nerver ceases to amaze.
    very sheek.

    silicon m

  • john

    so 2007…
    this will never be built.

  • anabanana


  • absolutely stunning … and why not symmetry, open your eyes – it is new and fuses so many things, hence all the references …

  • WM

    I like Franklin Place but this is too busy, overstylized.

  • It reminds me Luigi Colani´s boat/airplanes designs. I loved it.

  • NA

    “…nothing cultural about it…”:
    This couldn’t be any more off base. Dubai, if any city in the world, is a condition of globalization. The fact that it isn’t “Arab” is exactly the point to Dubai. It is the generic global city, the city of the future. For me that last statement is a cynical one, but still I believe it to be true.

  • Rockstar

    looks more like asymptote really…

  • birdie

    times when it was possible to gain impression only by irregular curved shapes is over

  • UNstudio has the capability of using diagrams to explain all the mess Hadid could not.

    Hey, everyone, global warming plus economic crisis…ain’t they enough a hint? Let’s stop all these media-savvy, hardly-ever-be-built visuals and get real. That is, if they’re architects and not mere artists who happened to pick the wrong field in schools.

  • OLGV.

    yes, symmetry and diagrams is all what we need :D

  • Vico

    This is quite clearly a very stylish air-conditioning unit. I should give credit for the brilliant irony of UN’s design, given both the climate and our current environmental and economic concerns. Air-con is the new de-con!

    I’m not sure if it’s just the angles chosen but the rendered views all look strangely squashed, as if the developer’s dwindling funds where somehow slowly deflating the mass, squeezing the white walls inwards Wonka-style. Perhaps this is not only a giant air-con unit but a solution to uncertain economic times – the magical disappearing building! Or perhaps it’s an alluring trap for obese American tourists?

  • Bozo

    They proved they can do it with the Mercedes museum.
    A beautiful progression. Best of luck to them.

  • Fbot

    Hey UN !
    The lighting scheme needs work. There are so many opportunites here for integrated light washing through the forms of the building.
    I can help you

  • eduardo

    I don’t know about the others,
    but I have enough of Dubai………

  • step_out_of_a_triangle_and_into_striped_light

    i like UNStudio quite a lot but for some reason the third image reminds me of a vagina.

  • Joe

    Stunning. I’m not saying everything is perfect but it is stunning. The kind of building whose biggest contribution is the way it changes buildings of the future. These buildings in Dubai are like a lot of experiments. Say what you will of Dubai but what a substantial investment in architectural art.

  • João

    have to agree with eduardo… besides, i think Dubai’s turning all the architecture the same… it seems to me that the urban planners (are they really there????) or any kind of building rules say all the projects should be expensive, unbuildable and have the same, or at least similar, shape… or are my eyes tired of all this and are confusing my brain???? please, somebody help me on this…

  • dj

    it has a but crack.

  • celine mondieu

    Another Nike-sneaker-like building devoid of anything to pull you into it, a bubble floating its image and its shoppers until its shell starts falling apart. It could be anywhere, and anywhere it would suck the same.

  • huh?

    i guess all the money in the world can’t buy you good taste.

  • sara

    extremly aweosme design, wish to visit once its ready,

    and i think it goe smore with a shape of whale , and nothing like vagina!!

  • Azm

    These more sensible than zaha , overall beautifulll!!!!

  • This is pretty impresive , are museums are nothing compared to this museum. I cant beleive im saying this but i want to go there! :]

  • TomTom

    The 9:15 flight to Jupiter is now boarding at gates 3-5….Passengers are remeinded that this is a no smoking flight and that all gaseous or arty lifeforms are confined to decks 7 and 8.

    On behalf of myself and the MOMEMA corperation i would like to wish you a pleasant flight.

  • My heart is pounding..

  • saif

    I hate the fact that its a symmetrical building…the interior is fascinating…anyways things are on hold now.

  • niels

    ..looks like an ugly yacht, of which I am sure they already have enough in Dubai.
    Architecture is losing its grip of reality..

  • Safa

    The design does not reflect the interior need as museum and seems that the design shape looks like Zaha Hadid style that have unusual shape, and it doesn’t reflect the multicultural understanding.