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Le Louvre @ Abu Dhabi by Ateliers Jean Nouvel

January 5, 2012 , , , , ,

Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Project Information
Located on Saadiyat Island, off the coast of Abu Dhabi, the new Louvre will provide an inspiring, high-quality space for stunning works of art from around the world, many on loan from the Louvre in Paris. Buro Happold has been selected as multi-disciplinary engineer on this venture, which is one of the most innovative, exciting and challenging museum projects to be built in recent times.


Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel to look as though it floats on water, the complex takes its inspiration from a traditional Arabian city. Standing on piles founded on bedrock 18m deep, its imposing form will be topped by a 180m diameter cupola supported on five perimeter pillars. The canopy is designed as a mesh to allow dappled sunlight to pass through into the space below, creating localised areas of shade, with an ambient temperature in which visitors can explore external exhibitions.

Most works will be contained in a strictly controlled indoor climate, alongside workshops, an education centre, restaurant and café facilities.

A variety of passive energy systems are also being investigated, including natural cooling to the buildings and the optimisation of water use; the building will be designed to meet with the spirit of the American LEED green building rating system, conserving natural resources. The iconic ‘desert Louvre’ has also been designed to withstand Abu Dhabi’s extreme climate, which includes airborne dust, sand, salinity, humidity and the occasional sandstorm.

As part of the Cultural District of Saadiyat Island, itself part of a 30 year development plan, the Louvre will be linked to the mainland by two new major bridges. It is also one of four landmark buildings planned for the district; the others are the Sheikh Zayed National Museum, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and a performing arts centre.

Sited on a built archipelago in the tidal zone of the Arabian Gulf, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will be uniquely placed to become a global cultural destination when it opens in 2012.


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