Abu Dhabi, 3/21/2015 10:00:00 PM - Tourism Development & Investment Company, the master developer of Saadiyat’s Cultural District, announced today that work on the cladding of the Louvre Abu Dhabi dome is well underway. The dome cladding which is made up of eight different layers – four internal and four external, is one of the most significant stages of the museum’s construction, giving Louvre Abu Dhabi its final shape and look as well as the museum’s interior ‘rain of light’ effect. To date, 30% of the cladding has been installed, with full installation expected by June of this year. This update comes after a tour conducted by Louvre Abu Dhabi Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel to oversee the latest developments on site and who was received by TDIC’s Chairman of the Board HE Ali Majed Al Mansoori.
The design of the cladding of the dome, which is the museum’s main feature, is inspired by the interlaced palm leaves traditionally used as roofing material in the Emirates. The roof’s complex pattern is the result of a highly studied geometric design, repeated at various sizes and angles in eight different layers, giving the dome a delicate form that leads to a magnificent ‘rain of light’ effect. The cladding layers are made from 7,850 star-shaped aluminium and stainless steel elements, the largest of which measures 13 metres in diameter and weighs 1.3 tonnes. These star-shaped elements, or stars as they are referred to, make up eight layers of cladding weighing a total of 2,000 tonnes.
HE Ali Majed Al Mansoori, TDIC’s Chairman of the Board, said: “We are pleased with the work that is progressing on the Louvre Abu Dhabi today and we are very happy to be working closely with Jean Nouvel to ensure that this critical stage of building the museum progresses smoothly. The installation of the external cladding of the dome is one of the most significant processes, given that the dome is the museum’s iconic feature and one that will result in Jean Nouvel’s ‘rain of light’.”
“The Louvre Abu Dhabi is a project founded on a major symbol of Arab architecture: the dome. But here, with its evident shift from tradition, the dome is a modern proposal,” said Jean Nouvel, the architect of the museum. “I really wanted this project to be based on a complex, yet visible geometry, and place it in relation to the light. Thus it somewhat embodies the moucharabieh theme that is often found in the vertical position, which in this circumstance takes on another dimension as it is used to perforate a dome,” he said of the dome concept.
The 7,000 tonnes dome, which was constructed over the span of 10 months, was originally built on top of 120 temporary towers as a way to support its weight during the construction process. It was recently lifted atop its final position supported by only four concrete piers in a first-of-its-kind technique in the world of construction for a permanent structure of this scale and size. All of the museum’s structures have been completed with work on the internal finishing progressing. As of early March, more than 24,000,000 man hours have been completed on the project.
Once completed, Louvre Abu Dhabi will encompass 9,200 square metres of art galleries. The 6,681-square-metre Permanent Galleries will house the museum's permanent collection taking the visitor through a universal journey from the most ancient to contemporary art works from different civilisations. The Temporary Gallery will be a dedicated space of 2,364 square metres presenting temporary exhibitions of international standards. The gallery spaces will also include a children’s museum that caters to school-age children.
Louvre Abu Dhabi will be the first universal museum in the Arab world. The Saadiyat Cultural District where the museum is being constructed will also feature Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi which are both designed by world-renowned Pritzker-Prize winning architects.
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