Mecanoo designs Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi | Life on Earth

Due to be completed in 2025, the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi is under construction by architects Mecanoo

Mecanoo have unveiled plans for the forthcoming Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi, a project which resonates with natural rock formations. 

The museum by the Dutch architecture firm is set to become a world-leading and pioneering scientific research institution, housing some of the rarest wonders of natural history ever found. It will seek to inspire and educate visitors on the evolving story of our planet and offer a stimulating perspective on creating a sustainable future. 

Geology and architecture

Set to cover an area of more than 35,000 square metres, the museum has a geological design which mimics the sculptural appearance of naturally occurring rock formations. This further enforces the museum’s focus on improving our understanding of and engagement with the natural world around us. 

“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 which are potent symbols of life in the desert,” the leading architects at Mecanoo explain. 

The scientific research and teaching institution will educate visitors on the history of the universe and question the Earth’s future

Cultural institution

The museum is situated in the emirate’s Saadiyat Cultural District, a vibrant area that is aiming to became on the world’s leading cultural centres. Upon the project’s completion, visitors will be welcomed to explore it is has to offer and invited on a journey through space and time across an awe-inspiring 13.8 billion years. 

“In addition to the gallery display areas, the museum will include temporary exhibition spaces for special events and theatre facilities,” Mecanoo confirmed. 

Visitors to this area can already discover the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and soon there will be the Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. These additions are all part of the capital city’s ambitions and strategy to become a centre for culture, arts, and creativity. 

Museum highlight

The world-famous T. Rex ‘Stan’ will become part of the new museum’s collection, and it’s a must-see for visitors who want to get up close to the mostly complete 39-foot-long (11.7 metres) Tyrannosaurus rex. It is one of the best preserved and most studied fossils of this iconic predator, and in its new home it will be under the care of expert scientists. 

Vegetation plays an integral role, being carefully incorporated to appear as if they cascade over edges of the cellular structure

Project details:

Project title: Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi

Client: Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) in partnership with Miral

Size: 35,000m²

Status: Under construction, expected to complete at the end of 2025

Photography: Red Vertex

The new museum will be located in the emirate’s Saadiyat Cultural District, an upcoming and lively cultural centre

Take a look at more world-wide projects by Mecanoo

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