Oriental Jewel by Waagner-Biro: The Domed Roof of the Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi (Copyright: Atelier Jean Nouvel)

Following one of the longest and most complicated tendering processes in the history of the company, Waagner-Biro Stahlbau AG managed to secure the contract for the complex dome construction of the proposed Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi. The main reasons for the selection of the Austrian steel specialist were once again its large technical know-how, its experience and its high performance capability in the most sophisticated projects. The prestigious building will be a further milestone in the company’s portfolio.


On Saadiyat Island, situated off the coast in the immediate vicinity of the centre of Abu Dhabi, a number of renowned cultural institutions and high-quality tourist facilities will be built in the coming years, representing the world’s greatest concentration of top-class cultural goods. As well as the Louvre, there will also be a branch of the Guggenheim Museum. The exhibition will devote particular attention to the cultural bridge between the Orient and Occident. The Louvre Abu Dhabi will be completed in 2015.


The open dome construction, at a diameter of around 180 metres, is roughly the size of five football pitches and is made from steel profiles. The upper and lower sides are covered in ornamental patterns made from aluminium profiles, which generate a special light quality. The French star architect Jean Nouvel derived his inspiration from rays of light like those that penetrate the lanes covered in raffia mats in an oriental bazaar. The dome is attached to the building beneath at only four points and seems to float as a result. Some of the museum pavilions stand in sea water, creating a graceful interplay of directly and indirectly falling light, initial impressions of which can be seen in simulations by the planners.


This is not the first cooperation between the Louvre and Waagner-Biro Stahlbau AG. The Islamic Collection of the Parisian Louvre was opened only last autumn. And the Austrian specialist for steel and glass technology was also commissioned to create a roof for the Cour Visconti.


“We are delighted to be able to fulfil another sophisticated large project in the Middle East, our key market. We have the necessary resources and long-term partnerships to ensure successful completion,” says DI Johann Sischka, chair of Waagner-Biro Stahlbau AG. Waagner-Biro has been active in the Arabian region since the end of the 1960s and has been represented for a number of years by subsidiaries in various Gulf States. The local references of the corporation include numerous bridges as well as prestigious buildings such as Dubai Festival City and Capital Gate, and the Yas Island Marina Hotel in Abu Dhabi.