Architects: Jean Nouvel
Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Project started: 2016
Completion date: November, 2017
The Louvre in Abu Dhabi, once completed, will be the Arab-world’s first universal museum. It will house art collections dated from prehistoric times to contemporary art, revealing a story about humanity; a universal story. This museum will work alongside a series of arts and cultural buildings, including a new branch of the Guggenheim, designed by Frank Gehry and the Foster + Partners designed Zayed National Museum. This structure creates a museum city as it acts as a bridge between land and sea. The museum is located near Saadiyat Island, a man-made island off the coast the United Arab Emirates’ capital, Abu Dhabi.
The design was influenced by Abu Dhabi’s climate. The local people heat and cool themselves to work against the extremes of nature to remain a constant temperature. The design intended to create a welcoming world, integrated with lights, shadows, reflections and serenity. The structure acts as a reminder of history and its geography without becoming a literal translation.
The recent images were shared on Twitter by the French Ambassador to the UAE in order to capture the striking features that have not yet been shared with the rest of the world. The photographs were able to show off the design’s main feature – a huge domed roof, measuring 180-meters in diameter. The dome (or parasol) is a major symbol of Arabic architecture. However, this design has moved away from the traditional form by using multiple layered lattices that comprises of 7,850 overlapping star shapes and constellations, creating many rays of light within the interior gallery spaces. It is considered uncommon to find a built archipelago (defined as an extensive group of islands) in the sea, and even more unusual that it is protected by a parasol.
Accessing the museum can be done by boat or finding a pontoon to reach it by foot from the shore. The Louvre becomes the ultimate destination of an urban promenade; a cool heaven and a shelter of light during the day. Its aesthetics and design decisions are consistent with its role of acting like a sanctuary for the world’s most precious works of art.