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Life & Style

Museum of the Future: How an architectural marvel is marking Dubai’s 2071 vision

  • Majed Almansoori, Deputy Executive Director and Head of PMO, shares key insights about the Museum that is scheduled to open this year
Published January 30, 2022

DUBAI: As you drive past Sheikh Zayed Road, a torus-shaped structure glistening in the Dubai sun is sure to catch your eye. It’s the Museum of the Future – an architectural tour de force that has been gripping global attention even before it has opened its doors. The building, constructed using 1,024 pieces of stainless steel across 17,600 square metres and wrapped in swirls of allegorical Arabic calligraphy, is a marvel of parametric design.

The last piece of the façade was installed in October 2020, marking the beginning of the building’s final construction phase with the Museum scheduled to open this year.

“The façade is immediately striking to anyone who sees it,” Majed Almansoori, Deputy Executive Director and Head of Project Management Office (PMO) at the Museum of the Future, told Business Recorder. “The 77-metre-high elliptical structure is unlike anything else in Dubai and stands out even among the city’s iconic skyline,” he adds.

The Museum’s contemplative design goes beyond its aesthetic legitimacy to demonstrating its global agency as a prelude to what the world could look like in the next 50 years. The cursive script doubles as the building’s windows and displays three quotations by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. “The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it. It isn’t something you await, but rather create,” reads one quote.

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Offering a lesson in futuristic design, the Museum’s entire project lifecycle has been created using 4D Building Information Modelling (BIM) algorithms – a time- and cost-efficient process that digitises both the physical and functional characteristics of a structure. Almansoori notes, “The Museum is a landmark that represents the work of Dubai Future Foundation, which drives the vision of Dubai by being a forward-looking arm that maintains the city’s position as a leading city of the future.”

Designed by UAE-based architecture studio Killa Design and engineered by British firm Buro Happold, the solid part of the building represents the knowledge that we have today, whilst the void depicts the future that’s yet to be built by humanity. “This design element is crucial to the overall objective of the Museum, which is to help people break away from negative assumptions and inspire them to construct the kind of future that they want to live in,” explains Almansoori.

At the core of the Museum’s values is studied diversity and projecting humanity as greater than the sum of its parts – with much to offer to every demographic including the South Asian community.

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“Dubai is emerging as a global tourist, business and residential destination. We’re fortunate to have a very large population of South Asian expats, who make a significant contribution to the city and will play a key role in our continued development,” says Almansoori. “Ultimately, we see the Museum of the Future as a harbour of tolerance where varied cultural, philosophical, social, and spiritual outlooks are welcome.”

A place for creatives, innovators and thinkers, the Museum will also become the headquarters to HH Sheikh Mohammed’s new ‘Great Arab Minds’ initiative, the Arab world’s largest movement that aims at highlighting and motivating the region’s most inspiring youth.

Sustainability is also central to the ethos of the Museum, which is poised to be the first LEED-certified Platinum museum in the Middle East, a status afforded by the eponymous global green building rating system. The low-carbon civic building achieves sustainability through several innovations, including its parametric design, passive solar architecture, and low energy and water engineering solutions.

“For example, the building’s calligraphy-based windows shine light into the interior by day and illuminate the area with 14 kilometres of LED lighting by night,” explains Almansoori. “Its sustainable design even considers the slope upon which it stands, the hot climate of the UAE, soil type, plant species and irrigation measures required to keep the surrounding greenery in bloom.”

With the integration of a solar farm, the Museum manages to collect enough natural energy to supply approximately 37% of the required power for the entire structure. “Also, the irrigation system uses weather-related data from moisture sensors to reduce over-irrigation. Any overspill is collected and recycled back into the irrigation tanks to ensure that there’s no water run-off wastage. The green roof and body of the mound also work to offset a heat island effect.”

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The Museum and its anticipated launch this year are expected to play a critical role in solidifying Dubai’s presence as a global test bed for emerging technologies and a capital of cultural tourism. “One of our exhibits is a collection of cutting-edge technologies from companies all around the world. It includes futuristic solutions designed to enhance food security and make transport more sustainable,” states Almansoori.

Inside, guests will relish a unique curatorial journey to 2071 through a series of immersive exhibitions. “The experience will allow people to see, hear and feel the future. The exhibits include content that has been crafted by a team of the world’s leading product, media, exhibition, and experience designers,” says Almansoori.

“People will leave feeling more connected to their inner self, more positive and more optimistic about the future of humanity. Most importantly, they’ll feel empowered to contribute to the building of a better tomorrow and inspired to drive positive change, not just for themselves but also on behalf of the global community,” shares Almansoori. “After all, the future is for all humanity.”

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