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The floating dome of Louvre Abu Dhabi

Published Jan 02, 2023
Updated Jan 03, 2023

📍 🇦🇪 The floating dome of Louvre Abu Dhabi

Designed by the world-renowned French architect Jean Nouvel, Louvre Abu Dhabi (UAE) is the 1st universal museum in the Arab world. The building’s most iconic feature is its beautifully designed dome that appears to float with lightness above the museum.

Made of eight layers of stainless steel and aluminum, the dome has a diameter of 180 m and a weight of 7500 tonnes (similar to the Eiffel Tower). Composed of 7850 overlapping star-shaped elements (a square surrounded by triangles on the sides), the cupola filters the sunlight, creating a "rain of light" that produces shadows and geometric light effects on the ground and on the museum walls.

But what is the meaning of this giant floating dome ?

Located in Saadiyat Island in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the museum has been designed as a « museum city » which combines modern and traditional Arab architecture. The 55 white buildings which house the collections recall Arab medinas with low-lying houses and traditional narrow streets. The imposing dome is an echo of the oases of UAE and the « rain of light » effect evokes rays of sunlight passing through the leaves of palm trees. As palm groves in a desert land, the dome offers a shady place with cool temperature where one feels good and wants to spend time and, of course, come back.

_ Sources _

Olivier Boissière, Jean Nouvel, Louvre Abu Dhabi : story of an architectural project, Editions Skira, Paris,  2019

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Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
Not applicable
21st century