Plans begin to integrate Louvre Abu Dhabi with the sea
The developer behind the Louvre Abu Dhabi said on Wednesday that it has begun plans to integrate the sea into the museum project being built on Saadiyat Island.
The Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) hailed the “significant milestone” towards realising the vision for the cultural institution by its famous architect Jean Nouvel as a “museum city on the sea”.
The process is taking place in three stages within the temporary earth platform, an area of reclaimed land sitting four metres above sea level, from which all the construction work to date has been built.
At the start of the project, a continuous hydraulic cut off wall was constructed and pumps were installed to remove the water and allow excavation, piling, and subsequent works to be undertaken in dry conditions.
Ali Majed Al Mansoori, chairman of TDIC, said in comments published by news agency WAM: “This is a great milestone in the development of Louvre Abu Dhabi. This delicate process is the result of months of planning and preparation to ensure that the inflow of sea water takes place in a controlled manner around and within strategic places in the museum.
“We are confident that once it is concluded, future visitors to Saadiyat island will be able to see the beauty of Louvre Abu Dhabi and experience first-hand how the vision for this project has been turned into reality.”
The first stage of integrating the sea with the site involved the shutdown of selected pumps to allow the water level to rise slowly around the museum’s basements located below seabed level.
The second stage has also been completed, where the remaining pumps were shut down and sea water was pumped inside the temporary hydraulic cut off wall.
The third and final stage, which started this month, involves further pumping of sea water within the temporary walls and around the Louvre Abu Dhabi, raising the water level to match the sea level.
This will be followed by the removal of the hydraulic cut off wall and the final construction of permanent marine sea defences which will complete the full integration of the sea with the Louvre Abu Dhabi, WAM said.
To date, the project has witnessed the completion of the museum’s 180 metre-diameter dome, as well as the installation work of 30,000 square metres of natural stone paving and the completion of its basement levels.
Advanced work is currently underway on the main gallery spaces, entrance and administration buildings.
Louvre Abu Dhabi is part of the Saadiyat Cultural District and will become home to two more cultural institutions – Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.
When open, the museum’s permanent collection will be exhibited across 12 state-of-the-art galleries in dialogue with loaned artworks from 13 leading French institutions to tell a universal story of human history.
Galleries are designed like an Arabic ‘madinat’, or city, and visitors will also be able to enjoy temporary exhibitions in a dedicated space, a children’s museum, auditorium, cafe, restaurant, museum shop, research centre, promenades and gardens.
In January, TDIC said construction of the Louvre Abu Dhabi was nearing completion and will soon enter a rigorous preparation phase prior to artwork installation and handover later this year.