By Andy Sambidge
Key part of museum construction slated to be completed by end-2014, says tourism developer
Work on the distinctive dome on Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first of three iconic museums planned for Saadiyat Island developed by Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), has started.
Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of TDIC and Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) witnessed the first concrete pour for one of the four piers that are to hold the dome of the museum.
Work on the dome is expected to be completed by the end of 2014, news agency WAM reported.
The dome which has a diameter of 180 metres and is expected to weigh more than 7,000 tonnes - almost the weight of the Eiffel Tower, will be supported in four points only.
The dome will rest nine metres high at the entrance of the museum and will reach up to 30 metres high on the inside.
The design concept behind the laced dome is to reflect the interlaced palm trees traditionally used as roofing material in the region, allowing the sun to shine through like "a rain of light".
The museum, which will be surrounded with water, gives the illusion of a floating structure.
The construction of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, set to open in Saadiyat Cultural District in 2015, was awarded to Arabtec-led joint venture with Constructora San Jose SA and Oger Abu Dhabi in January.
Mubarak Hamad Al Muhairi, managing director of TDIC, said: "We're delighted to witness the first concrete pour for the foundation that is going to hold up the unique dome of Louvre Abu Dhabi.
"This is an important time for us because it's symbolic of moving into a new construction stage and most importantly getting another step closer towards realizing our landmark project.
"This is a world-class museum with a one-of-its-kind design and TDIC is closely monitoring its development."
Designed by Pritzker-prize winning architect Jean Nouvel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will encompass 9,200 square metres of art galleries.
Other cultural highlights planned on Saadiyat include the Zayed National Museum, which will open in 2016, and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, which will open in 2017.For all the latest construction news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.