Louvre dome on schedule for September completion

Work on iconic structure is more than 20% complete

NEWS, Projects, Dome, Louvre abu dhabi, Saadiyat island, Turner Construction
NEWS, Projects, Dome, Louvre abu dhabi, Saadiyat island, Turner Construction

The iconic dome at Louvre Abu Dhabi will be in place by September this year.

Work on the structure, which is twice the length of a football pitch (180m), is currently more than 20% finished, with developers confident the full frame at the Saadiyat Island project will be complete in five months’ time.

Ali Al Hammadi, deputy managing director at Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), master developer, said: “Despite the challenging and complicated design, construction on the ground has been progressing steadily and on schedule.”

The prominent dome features 85 steel segments that weigh between 30 to 70 tonnes each – the steel structure weighs 7,000 tonnes, almost as much as the Eiffel Tower.

The steel is cut to length and ends are welded on in factories outside of Abu Dhabi and the pieces are shipped to site and then they are assembled on site in a fabrication yard.

The dome will be held up by four huge concrete towers. However, until these are fully constructed it is being held by 120 temporary steel towers.

Project manager Peter Armstrong, from US management firm Turner Construction, said: “In the first week of December the first large piece of the dome was lifted onto the temporary towers.

“Since December there has been more progress in constructing the dome by building additional pieces and completing the concrete pour.”

The entire dome structure is too heavy to lift into place in one movement and so each of the 85 segments is being positioned by a super-size crane – a 1,600 tonne machine which required 90 trucks just to move it onto the site.

The building has been designed by Pritzker-Prize winning architect Jean Nouvel. The roof’s complex pattern is the result of the same geometric design, repeated at various sizes and angles in eight different layers, four external and four internal, an arrangement the dome a lattice-like and delicate form, reflecting the country’s constant contention with shade and light.

Armstrong said: “The dome is going to be unlike any other dome or roof structure that you have ever seen and that’s because of the aluminium cladding that is on the underside of the dome, the inside of the shell and on the top side.

“Outside and inside you will see this pattern of criss-crossed aluminium. This is the architect’s vision of what they’ve described as the ‘rain of light’ – as the sunlight passes through the openings.

“You will be able to see rays of light coming down and the shadows being cast by the different pattern of the dome cladding and this is meant to be like walking under a palm tree and how the light and the shadows are cast by the light passing through the palms of the palm tree.”

The $653mn Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is being constructed through a joint venture between Arabtec, Constructora San Jose and Oger Abu Dhabi, is scheduled to complete in November 2015. It will be joined in the heart of the Saadiyat Cultural District by the Zayed National Museum, in 2016, and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, which will open in 2017. 

For a full insight into the Louvre Abu Dhabi development, check out this week's edition of Construction Week.

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