[FIRST LOOK] Foster + Partners has unveiled its designs for the new Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi
The scheme, which has already been dubbed the ‘five feathers’, is being hailed as the centrepiece of the Saadiyat Island Cultural District and will showcase the history, culture and the more recent social and economic transformation of the Emirates.
Conceived as a monument and memorial to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the scheme features five solar thermal towers which act as thermal chimneys to draw cooling air currents naturally through the museum.
According to the practice, these lightweight steel structures are ‘sculpted aerodynamically to work like the feathers of a bird’s wing’ - a deliberate analogy with falcons relating to the Sheikh Zayed’s love of falconry.
Norman Foster said:’It has been a great privilege to work on the Sheikh Zayed National Museum, to carry forward Sheikh Zayed’s vision and to communicate the dynamic character of a contemporary United Arab Emirates. We have sought to establish a building that will be an exemplar of sustainable design, resonating with Sheikh Zayed’s love of nature and his wider heritage.’
Saadiyat Island factfile
The island district is located 500 metres off the coast of Abu Dhabi and is the largest single mixed-use development in the Arabian Gulf. Arranged as seven districts, the Saadiyat Island Cultural District will also include the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum designed by Frank Gehry, the Louvre Abu Dhabi by Jean Nouvel, as well as a Performing Arts Center and Maritime Museum. The Zayed National Museum is already under construction and will be the first of the museums proposed for the island.