Louvre Abu Dhabi by Jean Nouvel, Serving as a Cultural Landmark

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Defined as a “Museum City” that resonates with the legacy of Arabian architecture, the Louvre Abu Dhabi by Jean Nouvel is this week’s Uncoverd project.

This episode of Uncoverd features the Louvre Abu Dhabi by Jean Nouvel. PA’s editor, Luka Koumari, explores some of the contentious aspects of the project. The spectacular museum, located on the Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, has been characterized by the Louvre as “France’s largest cultural project abroad.” It was built by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, who was selected by Abu Dhabi authorities in 2006.

© Courtesy of Hufton + Crow

The museum’s 180-meter dome is a landmark of traditional Islamic architecture, which is constructed from 10,000 structural components. The complicated design of the dome is repeated at varying sizes and angles, allowing each beam of light to penetrate the layers. This effect seems to imitate sunlight passing through the leaves of a palm tree on the Arabian Peninsula, resulting in a cinematic “Rain of Light” effect as the sun’s course moves throughout the day. Additionally, the dome comprises eight layers: four exterior layers of stainless steel and four interior layers of aluminum, divided by a five-meter-high steel frame.

Louvre Abu Dhabi
© Courtesy of Hufton + Crow

Indeed, the Louvre Abu Dhabi presents itself as a new cultural emblem founded on universal human ideals. It focuses on tales of human innovation from all cultures, eras, and locations, exposing humanity’s cultural accomplishments. It was built not only to serve as a gift to future generations but also to envision an architectural gesture that would define Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

However, some visitors expressed dissatisfaction with the absence of modern artworks presented within the galleries and with the customer service and ticketing difficulties that created a wait at the exhibition gates.

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