One of the most anticipated projects in the Persian Gulf and in the course of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel’s career opens today in Abu Dhabi.
Dedicated to exhibiting artwork that explores inter-cultural exchanges and human history from a non-Western perspective, the Louvre Abu Dhabi features a permanent collection and will also host four temporary exhibitions annually, which will be curated by a French museum partner for 15 years.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the result of an inter-governmental agreement between Abu Dhabi and France. The agreement created a new French agency, Agence France – Muséums, with the purpose of assisting the new Gulf museum in its design, construction, programming of exhibitions and the creation of its own permanent collection. The agency leveraged relationships with 17 French cultural institutions, the most prominent, the Musée du Louvre, shared its name with the Abu Dhabi museum — for exactly 30 years and six months.
Paris-based architect Jean Nouvel designed the museum, which is organized like a traditional Arab city with distinct galleries connected by walkways in between. A large dome with a 590-foot radius shades the structures underneath, though it allows “a rain of light,” as the architect describes it, to splash through the woven roof. Water both surrounds the museum and flows inside, allowing guests to walk or sit near interior pools in between visits to the museum’s galleries.
See photos of the completed museum below:
— E.K. Hudson