Construction of the ambitious Buro Happold-designed Louvre Abu Dhabi is finally underway after a two year delay, following the award of a £400M contract to a local consortium last week.
Client for the project is the Abu Dhabi government’s Tourism Development and Investment Company. It awarded the deal to a joint venture of Dubai-based Arabtec, Spanish contractor Constructora San Jose and Oger Abu Dhabi, and work has already started. The museum is set to open in 2015.
The 64,000m2 Louvre Abu Dhabi will extend out over the sea and is a complex mix of pavilions, plazas, alleyways and canals. Hovering over the complex will be a vast, 180m diameter shallow dome (NCE 21 May 2009).
The designed complex will be built on a temporary island made of imported fill before the reclaimed land is nibbled back, allowing the sea to flood areas without buildings on them.
The JV has been set the challenging task of completing the concrete frame of the complex structure by the first quarter of 2014. Work on its dome is then due for completion by the end of 2014.
The Louvre is one of three museums planned for the cultural district. The other two are a Guggenheim museum and the Zayed National Museum. Development of the district is a key part of the emirate’s 2030 vision aimed at diversifying its oil-based economy. They have been revived after they were postponed after the 2008 financial crisis.