The new Museum of the Future in Dubai has proved to be an architecturally innovative part of the world. The building takes the overall form of a big silvery eye and sports an intricate facade that is covered in Arabic calligraphy.
The museum was designed by Killa Design, in collaboration with engineers Buro Happold, and was commissioned by the Dubai Future Foundation. The building is located on top of a podium that is envisioned as a green hillside and comprises around one hundred different drought-resistant local species of trees and plants.
The museum has a height of 77 m (252 ft) and its stainless steel and glass exterior is embellished with inspirational quotes penned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which was turned into calligraphy by artist Mattar Bin Lahej.
The exterior is extraordinarily complex and involved using robots to produce over a thousand different facade panels. It then took around 18 months to install the panels on the building’s structural framework. LED lighting also illuminates the building’s large void.
“Standing 77 meters tall, the avant-garde facade is made of stainless steel and glass, consisting of 1,024 separate panels, each one specially created by robots and algorithms,” explained a press release by the Museum of the Future. “The number of panels has its own significance. It represents a basic unit of the digital information storage system of computers, which is a kilobyte, and each kilobyte is equal to 1,024 bytes. The Arabic script windows cast light into the interior by day and at night illuminate the city’s iconic skyline with 14 kilometers [8.7 miles] of energy-saving, resource-efficient LED lights.”
“Due to the building’s complex geometry and flowing calligraphy, each separate panel is unique. No two are alike. Each piece had to be individually precast and produced, with numerous prototypes designed and manufactured before a winning formula could be achieved. Every single panel was produced using automated robotic arms. Each panel is made up of four layers and was created following a complex 16-step process. The precision and focus required to create each panel meant that only several could be produced per day.”
The interior of the museum is 30,000 sq m (322,000 sq ft), spread over seven column-free floors. The lobby has a decorative ceiling and spiral staircase, from which the visitors can go to multiple floors of museum exhibits and interactive displays. These include an area dedicated to children, another looking at near-future technologies, and immersive digital recreation of the Amazon Rainforest. The museum also has an events space, wellness area, as well as a gift store, and a restaurant.
Collected rainwater and greywater are used for the irrigation of the greenery, while its facade is designed to reduce solar heat gain.