Dezeen Magazine

Dubai Renaissance by OMA

Dubai Renaissance is a building designed last year by Rem Koolhaas and Fernando Donis of OMA as an entry for a competition for iconic central feature at Business Bay in Dubai. OMA lost the competition to Zaha Hadid's Dancing Towers project, but now OMA is negotiating to build the structure at another site in the Emirate.


Conceived as an "anti-icon", the competition entry proposed a slim, monolithic revolving slab; the idea of rotation was added, Koolhaas admitted at the International Design Forum last week, since he guessed he would not win the competition without a novelty of some sort.


Now proposed instead for the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary in Dubai - and minus the rotating - the building features collaborations with figures including sculptor Anish Kapoor (below), landscape designer Petra Blaisse and industrial designer Konstantin Grcic.


>> see more architectural projects in the United Arab Emirates on our Google map

>> click here to see all our posts from the International Design Forum


A project description and credits from OMA follow, plus images from Koolhaas' lecture at the International Design Forum:


Dubai Renaissance Text

A single monolithic volume constructed, like an elevator core, in one continuous operation – 200 meters wide and 300 meters tall comprising of offices and business forums, hotel and residential suites, retail, art and urban spaces.


The ambition of this project is to end the current phase of architectural idolatry – the age of the icon – where obsession with individual genius far exceeds commitment to the collective effort that is needed to construct the city…


Instead of an architecture of form and image, we have created a reintegration of architecture and engineering, where intelligence is not invested in effect, but in a structural and conceptual logic that offers a new kind of performance and functionality.

So far, the 21st century trend in city building leads to a mad and meaningless overdose of themes, extremes, egos and extravagance.

What is needed is a new beginning, a Renaissance… Dubai is confronted by its most important choice: Does it join so many others in this mad, futile race or does it become the first 21st century metropolis to offer a new credibility?

The design of the building wastes no energy on useless invention. It proposes a single monolithic volume constructed, like an elevator core, in one continuous operation – 200 meters wide and 300 meters tall. Instead of competing with the Burj Dubai merely in terms of height, it overshadows it in terms of presence and substance...

If the shape of the Renaissance offers a massive presence from one side, from another angle it reveals exceptional slenderness...

Both conditions will stand out among the surrounding towers, a radical experiment in alternating identities.


Project: Dubai Renaissance
Status: Ongoing
Client: Dubai Properties Ltd
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Site Competition: Dubai Business Bay
Site Current Proposal: Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
Program: Total 425 500m2: Residential 67 800m2; Hotel 76 200m2; Offices 125 000m2; Retail 16 500m2; Parking 120 000m2; Culture 57 000m2

In charge:
Rem Koolhaas, Fernando Donis

Katrin Betschinger, Miho Mazereeuw, Laurent Troost, Martin Gallovsky, Ben Milbourne, Maria Derevencova, Katharina Gerlach, Mihal Gdak, Beatriz Minguez de Molina, Bart Schoonderbeek, Anneke van Zuethem, Clement Blanchet, Suzannah Waldron

ARUP: Cecil Balmond, Chris Carroll, Craig Gibbons, Alistair Guthrie, Gaspar Dorey
Inside Outside: Petra Blaisse, Rosetta Elkin
Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design: Konstantin Grcic, Nitzan Cohen
Lerch, Bates & Associates: Adrian Godwin
Dorsser Blesgraaf: Renz van Luxemburg
Ducks Scéno: Michel Cova
Models: Vincent de Rijk
Photography: Hans Werlemann, Frans Parthesius
Irma Boom Design: Irma Boom, Sonja Haller
Art: Hans Ulrich Obrist, Chris Dercon
Tate, London: Sir Nicholas Serota, Erica Bolton
Serpentine Gallery: Julia Peyton-Jones, Hans Ulrich Obrist