Giant roof at Louvre Abu Dhabi complete

85 super-sized steel elements in place creating 7,000 tonne dome

The Louvre Abu Dhabi’s 7,000 tonne dome roof.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi’s 7,000 tonne dome roof.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi’s 7,000 tonne dome roof has been fully installed.

Master developer Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) revealed the final piece of 85 super-sized steel elements was put in place today.

The dome sits atop of 120 temporary support towers, which will be later on disassembled and removed leaving the dome, as initially designed, resting on four main piers only.

Work has started on the cladding of the dome, where 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, the cladding pieces have been carefully engineered in specific sizes and orientations forming approximately 8,000 stars in both the upper and lower layers. The star-shaped pieces range from 3.5 to 13.5 metres wide depending on their position and location within the cladding design.

Ali Al Hammadi, chief executive officer at TDIC, 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 approximately 144,000m3 out of 145,000m3 of concrete has been poured at the development on Saadiyat Island.

Furthermore, some 33,000 tons of reinforcement steel has been used and over 18,500,000 man hours completed on site.

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; a highly secure seven-metre deep basement through which authorised vehicles will transport all the artwork of the museum.

And work is 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.

“We will soon start the marine excavation process, which will see the revetment, or breakwater area, surrounding the museum’s temporary platform removed in a strategic process. As work progresses, flooding will start to take place, resulting in Louvre Abu Dhabi’s final floating appearance.”

Designed by Pritzker-prize winning architect Jean Nouvel, Louvre Abu Dhabi will encompass 9,200m2 of art galleries. The 6,681m2 permanent gallery will house the museum's permanent collection taking the visitor through a universal journey from the most ancient to contemporary through art works from different civilisations. The temporary gallery will be a dedicated space of 2,364m2 presenting temporary exhibitions of international standards.  

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