The UAE's New Zayed National Museum by Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners reveals the new plans for the Zayed National Museum. Located on Saadiyat Island, this museum is a monument and memorial to the founding of the United Arab Emirates, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. This project illustrates recent dynamic, social and economic transformation of the Emirates.
The UAE's New Zayed National Museum — Render, Foster + Partners, © Foster + Partner
Objective of the project
The UAE's New Zayed National Museum aims at articulating modernity and sustainability with traditional Arabic forms and cultural values.

The building
The museum comprises of a building within a man-made hill. The roof exploits this man-made landscape acting as a green roof. The key element is to provide the building for the thermal properties of the hill.
Five wing-shaped solar thermal towers seem to emerge from this building. The choice for these tower is for a maximum energy-saving. Fresh air is captured and pushed via underground cooling pipes and then flowed into the museum. This very efficient system offers a constant, cool airflow to the building.
The UAE's New Zayed National Museum — Render, Foster + Partners, © Foster + Partners
The five wing-shaped towers are made of lightweight steel structures. Lightweight structures offer sustainable and low-energy solutions. As a large number research, starting with that of Frei Otto, has shown, minimum amount of material is used while maximazing stability and strength. These towers are based on the principle of the aerodynamic design of a bird's wing. They reflect the Sheikh Zayed's passion for falconry.
The Zayed National Museum — Render, Foster + Partners, © Foster + Partners

The galleries are also made of lightweight steel structures with a treatment of light and shade that exploit the quality of the tradition of discreet, carefully positioned openings. This choice aims at capturing and directing the desert's intense sunlight to illuminate the interior spaces.

Articulation of the National Museum
The museum will consist of galleries, an outdoor arena for live show featuring hunting birds, performance spaces, shops, cafes and a large auditorium, lined with Emirati textiles. One of the galleries will be devoted to wildlife conservation.
The Zayed National Museum, Foster + Partners, © Foster + Partners
The illustration above shows that one of the main ideas of this project is to make visitors take advantage of the desert's ample daylight, Sheikh Zayed's affection for nature and architectural design.
as Lord Foster adds, "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."

Technical information
Project: The UAE's New Zayed National Museum
Location: Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Status: Design
Architects: Foster + Partners
Team project: Lord Norman Foster, David Nelson, Gerhard Evenden, Toby Blunt, Martin Castle, Ross Palmer, Dara Towhidi, Karsten Vollmer, Barrie Cheng, Ho Ling Cheung, Sidonie Immler, Joern Herrmann, Andrew King, Gemma Owen, Jillian Salter, Marilu Sicoli, Daniel Weiss, Bram van der Wal, Simon Wing.
Engineers: WSP / BDSP AKT
Project area: 66,042 sq. m.
Client: Tourism Development + Investment Company
Renderings, courtesy of © Foster + Partners

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