OMA’s de Graaf says “Dubai has proved the early day critics wrong”

OMA partner and AMO director, Reinier de Graaf (pictured) told DesignMENA during an interview at the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), that the time has come to treat Dubai “as an adult”.

“We came 10 years ago and it was a completely different place. It was a place in a far more embryonic state. It has matured immensely and with that comes the fact that you have to treat it like an adult,” he said.

When asked whether he thinks Dubai has actually reached a level of maturity, de Graaf replied: “Oh yeah. I mean it is getting there, absolutely. We [OMA]  are now back, we are reengaging in a big sense. This is different place to the place I left. And I think they have proved the early day critics wrong and that’s a huge accomplishment.”

OMA is set to open its regional office in Dubai in the near future. De Graaf added that Dubai will become the place where “the next wave of economic development is bound to happen.”

When asked to comment on the state of architecture in Dubai, de Graaf said he had no specific comment to make.

“It’s there,” he said.

“I think it always important that, as an architect, once something is built you have to grant it immediate amnesty. Once something is built it is there, once something is built it is context. Complaining about what is built is the same thing as complaining about the weather. And humans are very resilient and they have an infinite repertoire of coming to terms with context including the urban.”

He added that when speaking about the Emirate, “it is very important to talk about [it] as just another city. It is just a prominent, global city with its splendours and its miseries, with its rights and its faults.

“I have a huge tolerance for almost any style [of architecture], even a kind of ecological architecture,” he commented. “Even an obsession with iconic things, even an obsession with a history that isn’t entirely accurate to put it mildly. I think all of that is part of the course and humanity has a long tradition in all of those things.”