Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) has completed the installation of the dome structure in its upcoming attraction Louvre Abu Dhabi, it announced on Tuesday.
Work on the dome, which consists of 85 super-sized steel elements and weighs 7,000 tonnes, began in December 2013.
The dome currently sits on 120 temporary support towers, which will be disassembled and removed in the future. As per the design, the dome will later rest on four main piers, a statement said.
Work has also started on the cladding of the dome, as part of which 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, these cladding pieces have been carefully engineered in specific sizes and orientations forming approximately 8,000 stars in both the upper and lower layers,” the statement added.
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, CEO 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.”
The company also confirmed that other work was proceeding on the project. To date, approximately 144,000 cubic meters of concrete has been poured, 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 also been completed structurally, along with the concrete work for the museum’s basement levels and the security screening facility – a seven-metre deep basement through which authorised vehicles will transport all the artwork of the museum.
Work is also progressing on the 1.2km Saadiyat Tunnel which will be the main entryway for the artworks as they are transported to their destination, the statement said.
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.”
Mock-up galleries of Louvre Abu Dhabi have been constructed and will serve as a means to verify, evaluate and seek approvals for the architectural quality and aesthetics of works for the museum – both internally and externally, TDIC said.
Designed by architect Jean Nouvel, Louvre Abu Dhabi, anticipated to be ready by December 2015, will encompass 9,200 square metres of art galleries including a 6,681 sqm Permanent Gallery and a 2,364 sqm Temporary Gallery.
Located in the Saadiyat Cultural District, it is one of the three main museums coming up on the island, with the other two including Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.