BjarkeIngels Group (BIG) - the international architectural firm, globally recognized for their grass root ideals on sustainability and preservation have been commissioned by Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation as lead designers for Warehouse421.

Work has begun on the renovation of two warehouses within the context of Warehouse421 in Mina Zayed, transforming these spaces from their current state in to functional and conservational venues.

Embedded within the principal of sustainability and preservation, Warehouse421 aims to create dynamic spaces for diverse audiences as the latest cultural platform in Abu Dhabi. Located in the port area of Mina Zayed, transformed warehouses will set the stage for artistic expression, understanding, and further development throughout the UAE’s cultural community.

“BIG’s design for Warehouse421 is the unlikely hybrid of generic industrial modernism and traditional Arabian architecture. The new art gallery forms the first step in re-creating the industrial Mina Zayed port site as the birthplace of an authentic contemporary Arabian vernacular,” said BjarkeIngels, Founding Partner, BIG.

The design plans proposed by BIG presented an absolute minimal upgrade of the warehouse to ensure the space can exhibit artworks and provide annual cool temperatures utilizing Arabian geometric patterns preserving cultural references throughout. Including such features as concrete floors and white-painted steel creates that create a neutral backdrop for the artworks, the interior entails five courtyards of lush foliage, with the façades fully glazed providing natural light during the day. Perforated Corten plates imitate the rusty industrial sheds common throughout Mina Zayed, and cover the patio roofs and windows ensuring shade.

Founded in 2005 by BjarkeIngels in Denmark, BIG have worked on a number of distinguishable structures around the world including the Danish Expo Pavilion, EXPO 2010, Shanghai, China, as well as on current projects such as Two World Trade Center, (United States), LEGO House, (Denmark), and the AudemarsPiguet Headquarters, (Switzerland), amongst others. Since 2008, they have been acknowledged for their work through countless awards and nominations including the World Architecture Festival (2014), the American Planning Association National Planning Excellence Award for Urban Design for the (2015), and the American Institute of Architects National Honor Award for Architecture (2015), both for the Danish Maritime Museum.

From November 19-21, all audiences are invited to explore their world through the launch event that will present a programme of national, regional and international artists, designers and musicians through exhibitions, workshops and performances.


Warehouse421 is a new venue for arts and culture located in the historic Mina Zayed district of Abu Dhabi that has been converted from two of the port’s former industrial warehouses. The mission of Warehouse421 is to celebrate art and culture, design and creativity, performance and music, from artists and designers based here in the UAE and from around the world, and to let people experience these disciplines in a unique and original space. The conversion of Warehouse421 has been overseen by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation as part of its mission to support the growth of the arts and cultural sector of the UAE.

Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation

The mission of the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation is investing in the future of the United Arab Emirates by investing in its people. To that end, the Foundation develops and supports strategic initiatives in the areas of arts, culture & heritage; education; and health. The Foundation also organizes a speaker series; Muntada. In addition, the Foundation supports initiatives outside of these areas to explore new areas of possible interest and future development.

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