By Andy Sambidge
Tourism Development and Investment Company announces major milestone in construction of Saadiyat Island project
The Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) on Tuesday announced the full installation of the Louvre Abu Dhabi dome structure, which consists of 85 super-sized steel elements and weighs 7,000 tonnes.
Back in December 2013, the first super-sized element was lifted and put into place. Today, work on the last of the 85 pieces has finished, completing the dome’s complex puzzle shaped structure, the Abu Dhabi master developer said in a statement.
Designed by Pritzker-prize winning architect Jean Nouvel, Louvre Abu Dhabi will encompass 9,200 square metres of art galleries. The 6,681 square metre Permanent Gallery will house the museum's permanent collection while the Temporary Gallery will be a dedicated space of 2,364 square metres presenting temporary exhibitions of international standards.
Louvre Abu Dhabi, when completed, will be one of the premier cultural institutions located in the heart of the Saadiyat Cultural District. These feature Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.
The dome sits on top of 120 temporary support towers, which later on will be dismantled and removed, leaving the dome, as initially designed, resting on four main piers only.
TDIC said in comments published by news agency WAM that work has now started on the cladding of the dome, whereby a total of eight layers of aluminium and stainless steel inserts will be placed in a clockwise direction, above and below the steel frame.
To achieve the ‘rain of light’ effect within the museum, these cladding pieces have been carefully engineered in specific sizes and orientations, forming approximately 8,000 stars in both the upper and lower layers.
Ali Al Hammadi, TDIC CEO, said: "We are very pleased that Louvre Abu Dhabi’s dome structure installation has now been completed and that the work is progressing as planned.
"This is a major milestone in the museum’s development, and great achievement for everyone involved because the execution of the design is very complex and one that is unprecedented in the architectural world."
To date, a total of about 144,000 cubic metres has been poured and a total of 33,000 tonnes of reinforcement steel has been used and over 18,500,000 man hours completed on site.
TDIC said the construction of all the galleries has been completed structurally, along with the concrete work for the museum’s basement levels as well as the security screening facility.
Work is also progressing on the 1.2km Saadiyat Tunnel which will be the main entryway for the artworks as they are transported to their destination.
Jassim Al Hammadi, director of infrastructure at TDIC, said: "The dome is the museum’s most prominent feature and has been by far the most challenging element to construct on site. However, we are working around the clock to meet our deadlines and make sure that the project is delivered on schedule."