Building the Louvre Abu Dhabi | The B1M

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05:30   |   Jul 05, 2017


Building the Louvre Abu Dhabi | The B1M
Building the Louvre Abu Dhabi | The B1M thumb Building the Louvre Abu Dhabi | The B1M thumb Building the Louvre Abu Dhabi | The B1M thumb


  • The spectacular “Louvre Abu Dhabi” is the first major building to be constructed
  • in what is one of the most ambitious cultural masterplan’s ever undertaken.
  • The first international outpost of the famous French museum,
  • the Louvre is set to becomeone of the cornerstones of a new district in Abu Dhabi.
  • As part of the Emirate’s long term strategic plan to attract tourists and diversify its economy,
  • Abu Dhabi is spending $27BN USD creating an international cultural destination.
  • The district will bring together some of the biggest names in architecture,
  • including five Pritzker Prize winners.
  • The Louvre Abu Dhabi, which was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel,
  • will be closely followed by,
  • an outpost of the Guggenheim designed by Frank Ghery, which is currently under construction along the coast
  • The National Museum of the UAE, designed by British architect Norman Foster,
  • which will tell the story of the country’s founder.
  • A futuristic performing arts center designed by the late Zaha Hadid,
  • and a maritime museum, which will celebrate the country’s connection with the sea,
  • designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
  • The 10-square-mile development of Saadiyat Island also includes a campus of New York University,
  • 30 hotels, three marinas, 8,000 villas and 38,000 housing units spread along some 12 miles of coastline.
  • Originally announced in 2007, the Middle eastern Louvre museum has been eagerly anticipated
  • for over decade and does not disappoint.
  • Extending out into the Persian Gulf the $650M USD museum’s key architectural feature is
  • its impressive and intricate dome that seemingly floats above the water.
  • Based on a structural concept by engineer Büro Happold, the vast dome has a span of
  • 590 feet (or 180 metres) and a 1,850 foot (or 565 metre) circumference.
  • Blurring art and engineering, the dome is perforated to create an internal effect that
  • its architect describes as a “rain of light”.
  • Despite its simple geometry the vast dome is an extremely complex structure,
  • constructed from more than 400,000 individual elements.
  • Weighing 12,000 tonnes – almost as much as the Eiffel Tower – the dome’s structure
  • is a steel space frame that rests on just four supports.
  • To construct the dome, 85 super-sized steel elements,
  • each weighing between 50 and 70 tonnes, were craned into place, supported by nearly 120 temporary towers.
  • These elements were then joined together with steel connectors.
  • Once the structure was complete, the whole dome was lifted off the temporary towers and
  • lowered 15 inches down onto the four permanent piers.
  • Creating the museum’s rain of light effect was far from easy.
  • The Dome’s steel structural core is covered with eight perforated layers of cladding – four on top and four underneath.
  • These layers are formed from 7,850 star-shaped aluminum and stainless steel elements,
  • measuring between 6 and 40 feet wide – around 2 to 13 meters – and weighing up to 1.3 tonnes.
  • The effect is a seemingly random geometric arrangement.
  • However, the pattern - the result of years of testing, including a full-size mockup placed on site
  • – is carefully calibrated to modulate the light and temperature conditions of the internal space.
  • As each element is unique, co-ordination between the fabricators and the contractors
  • had to be extremely well organised.
  • While cranes could be used for the external cladding, the internal installation of the
  • pieces hung from the steel structure had to be installed from scaffolding below.
  • The new Louvre will hold some of the world’s most valuable artworks,
  • in one of the world’s most extreme climates, and its spectacular dome plays
  • an important role in the museum’s environmental strategy.
  • It acts as a shading canopy to protect the outdoor plaza and the buildings below from the sun’s intense heat.
  • Clustered under the dome, 55 individual buildings make up the museum city.
  • 600,000 square feet – around 58,000 square meters – of art and exhibition spaces are arranged in a group
  • of simple geometric forms haphazardly arranged in reference to a traditional city.
  • Inside these buildings are large high-ceilinged gallery spaces for the display of artwork.
  • These galleries have to adhere to strict international standards protecting artwork.
  • To regulate the amount of daylight entering the galleries every window and roof light has three blinds
  • – two diffusers and a blackout blind.
  • These operate automatically depending on the time of day, the time of year and how much daylight is present.
  • With its impressive art, architecture and engineering, the Louvre’s desert outpost
  • is set to become a key landmark in Abu Dhabi’s latest district when it opens in 2017.
  • If you enjoyed this video and would like to get more from the definitive video channel for construction,
  • subscribe to The B1M.

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Jean Nouvel’s spectacular Louvre Abu Dhabi is the cornerstone of a new $27BN USD cultural district on Saadiyat Island. Discover how the building – including the vast dome that covers the museum – was constructed in this short documentary. For more by The B1M subscribe now - http://ow.ly/GxW7y

Read the full story on this video, including images and useful links, here: http://www.theb1m.com/video/building-the-louvre-abu-dhabi

Images courtesy of TDIC, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Frank Gehry, Foster + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, Tadao Ando, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Buro Happold.

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