Classical curves: Jean Nouvel's Louvre Abu Dhabi is two steps closer to completion

Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi is two steps closer to completion
The Louvre Abu Dhabi by Ateliers Jean Nouvel is nearing completion, reaching two key milestones in its construction. Temporary walls have now been removed to allow the sea to surround the building. Videography: TDIC
(Image credit: TDIC)

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.

This is set to produce a permanent lighting effect that will illuminate the structure across both day and night

Some 4,500 lights have been installed on the structure’s dome, designed to reference the region’s traditional architecture. This is set to produce a permanent lighting effect that will illuminate the structure across both day and night.

(Image credit: Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority)

INFORMATION
For more information, visit Ateliers Jean Nouvel’s website (opens in new tab)

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).