The Making of
Louvre Abu Dhabi
Architects: Ateliers Jean Nouvel
November 10th, 2016, 6:30pm
Main building, top floor, Oskar-Kokoschka-Platz 2, 1010 Wien
Despite its seemingly simple geometry the vast dome of the Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi is a very complex structure. It consists of a steel space frame which rests on only four supports and thus creates the impression of hovering weightlessly above some irregularly arranged white cubes. A multilayer cladding of aluminium bands masks the dome’s steel structure and modulates the light and temperature conditions of the space underneath. Jean Nouvel’s purpose was to create a ‘rain of light’ as he called it, reminiscent of Mashrabiya and the specific atmosphere of Arabian souks. Büro Happold developed the structural concept of the steel space frame, the Austrian steel construction firm Waagner-Biro Stahlbau AG was commissioned with the calculation and construction of the steel dome.
Goswin Rothenthal, an architect, façade engineer and software developer at Waagner-Biro will talk about his contribution to the project. After having worked on extraordinary architecture at Zaha Hadid for six years he wanted to know how a specialist contractor actually deals with complex projects, so he joined Waagner-Biro Stahlbau. His objective was to turn the architectural idea into a feasible structure while staying true to the design intent. For the cladding of the dome more than 450,000 individual cutting and drilling patterns of custom aluminum extrusions had to be described and automated. He organized an integrated work flow in a single parametric model, from the main geometry to the manufacturing data, coordination and logistics on site.