Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi Opens To The Public Following a Decade in Development

Following ten years of multinational collaboration between France and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi opens this week to the public. Located on Saadiyat Island and surrounded by the sea, twenty three permanent galleries and exhibition spaces, a Children’s Museum, an auditorium, and a research center are connected by waterfront promenades which weave beneath the building’s iconic dome.
Jean Nouvel's Louvre Abu Dhabi Opens To The Public Following a Decade in Development, © Roland Halbe
© Roland Halbe
 
© Marc Domage
© Marc Domage
“It is rather unusual to find a built archipelago in the sea,” Nouvel suggests. “It is even more uncommon to see that it is protected by a parasol creating a rain of light.” The project was conceived as a “museum city (medina),” combining traditional Arabic inspiration with contemporary design and state of the art energy-efficient engineering.
© Roland Halbe
© Roland Halbe

© Roland Halbe

© Roland Halbe
 

The double dome—180 meters in diameter—comprises a “horizontal, perfectly radiating geometry; a randomly perforated woven material, providing shade punctuated by bursts of sun.” Built from 7,850 unique metal stars, the structure creates a moving “rain of light” when the sun shines through. According to the architect, these are “reminiscent of the overlapping palm trees in the United Arab Emirate’s oases.” He continues:

© Roland Halbe
© Roland Halbe

Louvre Abu Dhabi embodies an exceptional programme in the literal sense of the word. Its vocation is now to express what is universal throughout the ages. Its architecture makes it a place of convergence and correlation between the immense sky, the sea-horizon and the territory of the desert. Its dome and cupola imprint the space with the consciousness of time and of the moment through an evocative light of a spirituality that is its own.

© Marc Domage

© Marc Domage

All climates like exceptions. Warmer when it is cold. Cooler in the tropics. People do not resist thermal shock well. Nor do works of art. Such elementary observations have influenced Louvre Abu Dhabi. It wishes to create a welcoming world serenely combining light and shadow, reflection and calm. It wishes to belong to a country, to its history, to its geography without becoming a flat translation, the pleonasm that results in boredom and convention. It also aims at emphasising the fascination generated by rare encouThe Louvre Abu Dhabi represents the first universal museum in the Arab world. As an independent institution it will use the musée du Louvre’s name for the next thirty years.

 

In Progress: Louvre Abu Dhabi / Jean Nouvel

  • Architects

    Jean Nouvel
  • Location

    Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates
  • Client

    TDIC
  • Project Year

    2016
Roof Plan with Dome

Roof Plan with Dome

Roof Plan without Dome

Roof Plan without Dome
 

Text description provided by the architects. All climates like exceptions. Warmer when it is cold. Cooler in the tropics. People do not resist thermal shock well. Nor do works of art. Such elementary observations have influenced the Louvre Abu Dhabi. It wishes to create a welcoming world serenely combining light and shadow, reflection and calm. It wishes to belong to a country, to its history, to its geography without becoming a flat translation, the pleonasm that results in boredom and convention. It also aims at emphasizing the fascination generated by rare encounters.

© TDIC
© TDIC
 

It is rather unusual to find a built archipelago in the sea. It is even more uncommon to see that it is protected by a parasol creating a rain of light.

ElevationsElevationsThe possibility of accessing the museum by boat or finding a pontoon to reach it by foot from the shore is equally extraordinary, before being welcomed like a much-awaited visitor willing to see unique collections, linger in tempting bookstores, or taste local teas, coffees and delicacies.
© TDIC
© TDIC
It is both a calm and complex place. A contrast amongst a series of museums that cultivate their differences and their authenticit

It 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.

Dome pattern
Dome pattern
A double dome 180 meters in diameter, offering horizontal, perfectly radiating geometry, a randomly perforated woven material, providing shade punctuated by bursts of sun. The dome gleams in the Abu Dhabi sunshine. At night, this protected landscape is an oasis of light under a starry dome.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi becomes the final destination of an urban promenade, a garden on the coast, a cool haven, a shelter of light during the day and evening, its aesthetic consistent with its role as a sanctuary for the most precious works of art. From Archdaily

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