From its Bedouin roots as a humble fishing and pearl-diving port to the discovery and production of oil, Abu Dhabi has become one of the world’s wealthiest cities. The city has evolved into a hub for cultural and commercial activities. Architecture, amid fast expansion and urbanisation, reflects worldwide trends and innovative building technologies. There is a great deal of futuristic architecture amidst high-density tower blocks and large grid-pattern highways across the city.
The following are a few examples of projects in Abu Dhabi transforming the skyline while focusing on the future.
The Revelation Mosque, designed by the Dubai-based firm X-Architects, addresses the community’s needs while studying cultural themes. It is a public place in the middle of the neighbourhood that serves as a focal point for the Muslim community to assemble, talk, and connect.
The modern mosque serves as a symbol of Muslim solidarity and Islamic monotheism. The design is inspired by the time of the Quran’s revelation and incorporates numerous cultural elements. Its simple design makes the most of the street-level public area to draw tourists and point them towards the Qibla for prayer. A water feature extends around the dome’s front while the minaret naturally rises at its rear, highlighting the architect’s vision of an urban oasis where the structure may “link the ground with the sky.”
The context of the site reveals the importance of urban breathing space in densely populated residential areas. As a result of the mosque’s comprehensive design, it operates according to the size of the city, its surroundings, and its people. This urban gap draws not only Muslims but people from all walks of life who want to engage and socialise.
Abrahamic Family House
The Adjaye Associates-designed Abrahamic Family House will consist of three distinct religious buildings: a mosque, a synagogue, and a church, built on top of a non-religious tourist pavilion. The home will offer a community for inter-faith conversation and exchange, instilling ideals of peaceful coexistence and acceptance among people of all religions, ethnicities, and cultures. Visitors can watch religious ceremonies, listen to holy texts, and participate in sacred rites in each place of worship.
The form draws inspiration from the three faiths, with care given to distinguish what is similar from what is separate. The force of these revelations is employed to construct the form. Three cubes are organised in three directions, each with significant plutonic properties and accurate geometry. The strength of the silhouette, when combined with the three forms’ articulation and their shared characteristics, begins to reveal the tale. These constructions portray a sacred place, with each volume adorned with colonnades, screens, and vaults.
Abu Dhabi TeamLab Phenomena Gallery
TeamLab, a group of Japanese artists, has unveiled the look of its TeamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi exhibition, which will house its visual art on Saadiyat Island. The structure will house immersive artworks created by TeamLab inspired by the idea of a “haven for endless inquiry.” TeamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi, a white sculptural block envisioned by TeamLab in cooperation with Abu Dhabi-based company MZ Architects, is slated to be erected on the waterfront.
The main entrance is positioned at ground level through an arched aperture, and a spectacular staircase ascends the structure to reach an elevated plaza on its roof. The enormous building is devoid of windows save for various entrances and a modest first-floor patio. Internally, there will be a succession of galleries of varying sizes for digital art. The gallery’s exhibits will change regularly and will be inspired by “environmental occurrences,” according to the artists.
The facility is expected to open in 2024. It will be the second cultural centre to open on the island. It is located in the east of downtown Abu Dhabi and has been under development for more than a decade by Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism.
Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi presented plans for the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi, which will house some of the most unique natural and historical wonders ever discovered. Visitors will embark on a 13.8-billion-year voyage across time and space, including a thought-provoking look at a brighter future for our planet. The upcoming museum will be situated in the Saadiyat Cultural District of the emirate, which is quickly becoming one of the top cultural hubs in the world. It is presently under development and is scheduled to be finished at the end of 2025.
The Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi, which spans more than 35,000 square metres, was designed by Mecanoo to resonate with natural rock formations. Thus, representing the museum’s mission of promoting understanding and involvement with the natural world. Geometry acts like an overarching concept throughout the design, with pentagonal forms evoking cellular formations. Water and plants, compelling metaphors for life in the desert, are also prominent design elements. The museum will also have theatre facilities, temporary exhibition sections, and venues for special events.
Guggenheim Museum Abu Dhabi
The long-awaited Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim museum in Abu Dhabi is already under construction on Saadiyat Island, a cultural zone off the coast of the UAE capital, and is expected to open in 2025. At 42,000 square metres, the museum will be the largest of the four Guggenheim colonies, surpassing Guggenheim Bilbao, which Gehry also built.
The museum’s design by Frank Gehry consists of a series of galleries with varying heights, forms, and personalities. It will also include an art and technology centre, a children’s education facility, archives, a library, and a conservation laboratory. The Guggenheim Foundation will run the museum after it opens, but Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company, which commissioned the project, will own it. It will be part of a broader complex of arts and cultural institutions on Saadiyat Island aimed at making Abu Dhabi a prominent cultural destination.
- Hinz, C. (2019, November 14). Abu Dhabi’s unusual architecture delivers surprises. CNN. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/abu-dhabi-architecture/index.html
- Dobbins, T. (2018, May 24). X-architects’ to design an urban mosque that forms the “Heart of the neighbourhood” in Abu Dhabi. ArchDaily. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://www.archdaily.com/894738/x-architects-proposed-urban-mosque-hopes-to-form-a-new-heart-of-the-neighbourhood-in-abu-dhabi
- X-Architects. (2017). REVELATION MOSQUE. x-architects. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://x-architects.com/en/project/revelation-mosque
- Adjaye Associates. (2022, September 12). Abrahamic family house. Adjaye Associates. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://www.adjaye.com/work/the-abrahamic-family-house/
- Ravenscroft, T. (2022, July 12). TeamLab reveals “Home for infinite curiosity” on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island. Dezeen. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://www.dezeen.com/2022/06/24/teamlab-phenomena-abu-dhabi-saadiyat-island/
- Mecanoo. (n.d.). Natural history museum Abu Dhabi. We are Mecanoo. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://www.mecanoo.nl/Projects/project/295/Natural-History-Museum-Abu-Dhabi
- Crook, L. (2022, June 24). Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Abu Dhabi to open in 2025. Dezeen. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://www.dezeen.com/2021/10/08/frank-gehry-guggenheim-abu-dhabi-2025/
- Baldwin, E. (2019, May 6). Gehry’s Guggenheim Abu Dhabi set to begin construction. ArchDaily. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://www.archdaily.com/916177/gehrys-guggenheim-abu-dhabi-set-to-begin-construction