Redefining reality in the virtual realm
The Museum of the Future symbolises both future progress and the regional design influence of Dubai with its use of modern materials, and Arabic poetry written by HH Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum which is represented in 3D on the facade surface. The quotations express his vision for the future of Dubai. Occupying a prime urban location adjacent to the Emirates Towers, the Museum of the Future is conceived not as a repository for ancient artefacts, but as an incubator of new ideas, a catalyst for innovation, and a global destination for inventors and entrepreneurs.
Translating the artistic and symbolic concepts inherent in the design into a 30,000m² (approx.) building clad in stainless steel was always going to be a challenge. Add to that the building’s unique torus shape, the client’s requirement to attain LEED Platinum status, and the team’s determination to embrace BIM at every stage of design and construction, then clearly, the building’s centre void is not the only aspect of this project that represents a step into the unknown.
Our specialist engineers developed bespoke in-house optimisation routines to model and analyse numerous options for the structure to achieve the building’s iconic shape. The outcome was a solution comprised of a complex diagrid framework directly aligned to torus shape and capable of supporting the 890 stainless steel and glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) panels that form the intricate silvery facade.
Working in a BIM environment also proved invaluable in working towards achieving the LEED Platinum accreditation stipulated by our client. We created a 3D energy model in which all 12 disciplines could interact in real time, agreeing more than 50 sustainable design decisions that resulted in a range of tangible benefits including a 45% reduction in water use and total energy savings of 25%.
As well as enabling the design team to execute this project with unrivalled precision, virtual collaboration fostered a shift in the working culture. Instead of relying on cascading linear delivery where designs are produced in a rush to meet milestone targets and then sequentially handed over to the next responsible activity, a more dynamic approach allowed parallel activities to occur concurrently.
Breaking away from convention in both style and substance, the Museum of the Future represents a radical alternative to the traditional skyscraper form and challenges conventional attitudes to designing the spaces we inhabit. Here, technology and human creativity are in total harmony, affording us a refreshing glimpse of real and virtual worlds combining to create something entirely new.
When we integrate our engineering specialisms around a core theme, the benefits to the client multiply