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Louvre Abu Dhabi concrete pour begins

on May 5, 2013

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The first concrete pour has begun to complete one of the four piers that will hold a 180m-diameter dome in place at the centrepiece of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The chairman of developer Tourism Development & Investment Co (TDIC), HE Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, and several other members of the company's management were on hand to witness the pour for the first of the piers, which will eventually hold a dome expected to weight more than 7,000 tonnes in place.

The dome will be 9m high at entrance level, but will rise to around 30m inside the building.

The design of the dome, by Pritzker prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, is based on a laced structure to reflect interlaced palm trees that have traditionally been used as roofing materials in the area.

It serves as a shade to protect the main plaza and the building below from radiant heat, while still allowing sunlight to shine through.

The museum will also be surrounded with water, giving the illusion of a floating structure.

Work on the dome is expected to complete by the end of 2014, while the entire building is set to complete in 2015
It is being built by an Arabtec-led consortium including onstructora San Jose SA and Oger Abu Dhabi under a $653m (AED: 2.4bn) awarded in January.

A temporary platform was built in the sea in 2009 to allow all works to take place on the 9,200m2 gallery in a dry environment. Once complete, 40-metre high concrete walls currently built in the sand will be removed to allow seawater to flow in gradually.

More than 4,000 steel and reinforced concrete piles – a total volume of 21,000m3 of concrete – were driven into the ground to serve as a base for the building. The final stage includes marine works and removal of temporary land platforms, which will be completed in 2015 when this world-class building transforms into an island of its own.

TDIC managing director Mubarak Hamad Al Muhairi, 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.”

The Louvre Abu Dhabi will be one of three world-class cultural institutions planned for Saadiyat Island. The other two are the new Zayed National Museum designed by Sir Norman Foster & Partners set to open in 2016 and the new Guggenheim Abu Dhabi set to open in 2017. It has been designed by Frank Gehry.