Fujairah Fine Arts Academy

Design Achievement – The site of the future Fujairah Fine Arts Academy in the United Arab Emirates is on a powerful landscape and located in a region with austere, stoic, and timeless architecture. This new academy aims to cultivate learning and creativity; allow immersion in drama, music, dance, and art; enable both mastery and cross-disciplinary collaboration; and impart a multi-generational impact on the community. DLR Group’s design establishes a new and significant legacy, creating a distinctive landmark and addressing the transparency and optimism of the arts. The articulation of the architecture amalgamates the surrounding foothills and unique geology, long cultural history of making and ceramics, and Islamic influences such as hypostyles, arcades, vaulting, and mosaics. A pedestrian precinct is formulated as a mounded, modulated, and blurred landscape and building form, with a central commons space sheltered by an iconic and elegant protective canopy. The canopy during the day serves as a protective shading device, while at night becomes an illuminated canvas, rendered in light, color, imagery, and projected media. Anchoring the central nucleus is a water feature that resembles an oasis. Narrow, pedestrian-only alleys increase wind velocity to enhance comfort in a natural way.
Scope Summary – New construction entails 76,000 SF of performance and academic spaces, 116,000 SF of mixed use, and 45,000 SF of future expansion. The centralized plan is broken up into four main programmatic elements: performance, academics, accommodations, and retail and parking. Performance facilities include a theater and amphitheater with shared stagehouse and back-of-house support. Adjacent space is provided for the study and practice of music, visual arts, and ballet. A library is positioned for access from all four quadrants of the academy. From the mounded central form, the facility feathers out, allowing the landscape to become the predominant articulated feature at the edges. Vegetation and structured form intermingle throughout the site, providing an open and inviting perimeter. The building blocks are faced in modest and modern masonry, animated by natural aggregate with reflective pearl-like highlights. The semi-permeable canopy allows filtered light to penetrate the buildings, commons, and pedestrian ways below. The solid and void patterning, informed by mashrabiya, creates figurative shadows, changing and animating the space through the day. DLR Group provided planning and architectural design services.