Louvre Abu Dhabi - Engineering an Icon

Brian Cole
Director
BuroHappold Engineering, Abu Dhabi

The Louvre Abu Dhabi project is a collaboration between traditional culture and modern construction techniques. Now open to the public, the Museum has on display extensive works of significant historical, cultural and sociological importance. Standing in the sea off the southern shore of Saadiyat Island, the museum comprises 55 buildings located on a pedestrian plaza 4 meters above sea level, above a two-story basement. The museum is linked to Saadiyat Island by pedestrian and vehicle bridges. An underground central plant room and entrance facility are located in a separate basement under the on-shore landscaping, linked to the main building by vehicle and service tunnels. A 180-meter-diameter dome covers most of the museum city and, at over 40 meters in height, provides an iconic landmark, visible from Abu Dhabi City. The dome acts as a shading canopy to protect the plaza and the buildings below from the heat of the sun. Light penetration through the dome’s complex pattern has been named the “rain of light” for its dappled effect, and is one of the defining features of the architectural concept.

Passive design techniques use the natural form of buildings and inherent properties of materials to improve outside conditions. Highly-efficient HVAC systems have been used throughout, in combination with a highly insulated and airtight building envelope. The project has achieved a 3-Pearl Estidama Design Rating and is targeting a LEED Silver rating. In addition to the description of the engineering design, the presentation includes details of the land reclamation, excavation and piling work carried out throughout 2010, and the main construction works, which commenced in January 2013.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation