Mecanoo designs the new Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi, home to some of the rarest specimens on the planet including the world-famous 11.7-meter-long ‘Stan’, the T. rex...
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From the architect: Abu Dhabi unveiled plans for the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi, which will feature some of the rarest wonders of natural history ever found. Visitors will travel on a 13.8-billion-year journey through time and space, which will include a thought-provoking perspective into a sustainable future for planet Earth. The new museum, currently under construction and due to be completed at the end of 2025, will be located in the emirate’s Saadiyat Cultural District, which is establishing itself as one of the world’s leading cultural centres.
Covering an area of more than 35,000 sqm, lead architects Mecanoo designed the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi to resonate with natural rock formations, reflecting the museum’s goal of improving understanding of and engagement with the natural world. Every element of the design uses geometry as an overriding theme, with pentagonal shapes resembling cellular structures. Also playing an important role in the design are water and vegetation, potent symbols of life in the desert. In addition to the gallery display areas, the museum will include temporary exhibition spaces for special events and theatre facilities. Enabling and marine works have commenced on the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi construction site.
A highlight of the new museum’s collection will be the world-famous ‘Stan’, a remarkable, mostly complete 39-foot-long (11.7 metres) Tyrannosaurus rex, which is one of the best preserved and most studied fossils of this iconic predator from the Late Cretaceous Period. ‘Stan’ will be joined by an extraordinary Murchison Meteorite specimen, which famously crash-landed in Australia more than 40 years ago and has since revealed to scientists new information about the early solar system. Containing a huge range of organic ‘stardust’ compounds as well as pre-solar grains which formed over 7 billion years ago – long before our current solar system existed – the meteorite provides ancient insight into the very building blocks of life.
Conceived and developed by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) in partnership with Miral, Abu Dhabi’s leading creator of destinations and experiences, the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi will be a scientific research and teaching institution and an educational resource for learning about the evolving story of our planet, aiming to ignite a life-long passion for the natural world in visitors of all ages.
Client: Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) in partnership with Miral
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Project Design: 2020 - 2022
Project Realisation: 2022 - 2025
Design Team: Mecanoo (Lead Concept Design Consultant), WME (Lead Design Consultant), Barker Langham (Lead Content and Experience Consultant), Arcadis (Marine Engineer), Plan A (Design Managers).