- Environment & Infrastructure
- Strategic consulting
- Specialist consulting
- The Living City
- Happold Consulting
In March 2007, the Tourist Development and Investment Company of Abu Dhabi announced that a new Louvre Museum would be completed in the city of Abu Dhabi. The new museum’s dramatic domed roof is undoubtedly the strongest feature of this extraordinary 60,000m² exhibition complex that will bridge the gap between Eastern and Western art.
Client: The Tourist Development and Investment Company of Abu Dhabi (TDIC)
Architect: Ateliers Jean Nouvel
Buro Happold services: Structural engineering, building environmental engineering, mechanical and electrical building services engineering, infrastructure engineering, marine and coastal engineering, ground engineering, environmental engineering, security, ICT & communications, acoustics, fire engineering, project design management, LEED assessment, facade engineering, SMART solutions
The challenge for our team has been engineering a remarkable domed roof that admits only dappled sunlight through an elaborate protective mesh. It will create a shady and cool environment inside the Louvre and encourage circulation between the different exhibition spaces.
The flow of visitors extends to a piazza with a café, restaurant and art conservation workshop. Our challenge here has been to create a floating, weightless structure on a stretch of coastline using all the principles of sustainability.
We have also had to account for the harsh nature of the local environment, finding innovative ways to cool the building and connect with the architect's vision for the Louvre.
Our teams carried out extensive computer modelling to design a structure robust enough to support the architect’s vision of a dome with a 10-layer façade, which remains largely hidden. We went through an extensive design process, continually reviewing progress until the optimum latticework structure was achieved. The final design of the 180m-diameter dome echoes the traditional shape of the souks of the Middle East and required creative and technical ingenuity.
The site also allows for the sea to lap up against the underside of the building and steps leading from the piazza, helping to maintain a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing internal environment. In order to maximise space, we have ensured a sound engineering base for two floors of basement space being below water level.
Our approach underlines the value of teamwork and attention to detail required in the engineering of such a prestigious building destined to become one of the worlds’ leading museums.
The internal environment will remain comfortable throughout the day, while the dappled lighting effect of the dome will also help to protect the artworks displayed from the harsh local environment.