Sheikh Zayed National Museum Masterplan
Abu Dhabi, 2007
Like all new cities, the new Abu Dhabi cultural district requires a center of gravity, a meeting place where different aspects of culture converge. The site for the Sheik Zayed National Museum and the three Biennale pavilions provided an opportunity for such a focal point. The intention was to create a great cosmopolitan space, comparable to Venice’s Piazza San Marco but conceived in the round, with the Sheikh Zayed Museum providing an equivalent to its Basilica. more
The traffic circle in the existing master plan thus became an urban plaza, a circular “galleria” with art galleries and venues, designer shops, cafés, restaurants, and boutique hotels. A continuous filigreed stone screen along the inner facade of this Ring filters light inside and gives scale and urbanity to the circular plaza.
The Ring’s shops and galleries end as one approaches the Museum. The stone screen now opens onto a large and quiet courtyard, providing a dignified entrance to the Museum. The Museum was designed to become one of the world’s great columnar spaces, interpreted in a secular and contemporary manner; it combines the interiority characteristic of Islamic architecture with the bold assertiveness of an architectural destination point. Made of concrete the color of the surrounding sand, the Museum was conceived as a forest of columns supporting a slender horizontal volume, whose curve meanders as if floating through the stark vertical elements. The columns and some of the palm trees growing in the patios extend upward through the roof, affording a singular external identity. back
13,711 sq. meters
UAE Tourism Development & Investment
Lead Designer: Bernard Tschumi. Key Personnel: Kim Starr, Chris Lee, KJ Min, Paula Tomisaki, Loren Supp, Colin Spoelman, Francoise Akinosho, Nefeli Chatzimina, Thad Nobuhara, Sara Arfaian, Guillaume Vallotton, Micah Roufah, Sae-Hyun Kim back