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Destinations: The Louvre Abu Dhabi

John Nouvel's museum like no other.

By : Melissa Serpico Kamhout
Destinations:  The Louvre Abu Dhabi

Set to open in 2016 on its own purpose-built island, Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi is a museum in which diverse cultures come together in an ethereal and striking building that looks out onto the Arabian Gulf.  “I wanted this building to mirror a protected territory that belongs to the Arab World and this geography,” said the Paris based Pritzker Prize-winning architect.

Two-thirds of the museum is covered by a white perforated dome measuring 180 meters (590 ft) in diameter.  Covering large galleries and a promenade, the dome features geometric openings influenced by the interlaced palm leaves traditionally used in Gulf architecture, which create a 'rain of light'.  The apertures also open and close to control the interior light and temperature, reflecting off the water beneath the building’s signature canopy.

“A microclimate is created by drawing on sensations that have been explored countless times in great Arab architecture, which is based on the mastering of light and geometry…a structure made up of shadows, of movement and discovery,” noted Nouvel of his iconic building.

“I wanted this building to mirror a protected territory that belongs to the Arab world and this geography.”