One of the region’s most highly anticipated openings, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is gearing up for completion, reaching two landmark moments this month. The construction site’s partition walls, originally constructed to keep water away from the building works, have now been removed, allowing for the sea to flood in and occupy its rightful place in the design. Meanwhile, the museum’s iconic dome has been illuminated for very first time.
Celebrated French architect Jean Nouvel is behind the new museum’s striking design; he envisioned the building as a ‘museum city’ in the sea, seamlessly blending water and dry land. And while the construction site needed to be protected while major foundation and building works took place, the project is now ready to move to its next step. The protection walls’ removal is set to take place in three stages over the next few weeks.
At the same time, installation of some 4,500 lights on the structure’s impressive dome, which was designed to reference the region’s traditional architecture, has also been completed. This is set to produce a permanent lighting effect that will illuminate the structure across both day and night. The 180m wide dome now covers the majority of the 'city', which comprises some 55 separate buildings.
Light and water are two of Nouvel's key design elements, set to create a dual visual effect the Pritzker Prize-winning architect calls a ‘rain of light’ in the interiors.
Upon completion, the Louvre will be a key element of the Saadiyat Cultural District on Saadiyat Island – the country’s major culture and arts hub, that also includes the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi by Frank Gehry and the Zayed National Museum by Foster + Partners.