Home Middle East How the Museum of the Future in Dubai reimagines the future

How the Museum of the Future in Dubai reimagines the future

Futuristic technology, sustainable solutions and time travel find a home under one roof

by The Gulf Talk
Museum of the Future

“The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it. It isn’t something you await, but rather create.”

These words by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, on his vision of Dubai, underpins the philosophy behind the Museum of the Future. The iconic landmark is set to open to the public on Monday, February 22. 

Traditionally, museums showcase people’s traditions, culture, history and fine art. They are a window to the past. The Museum of the Future in Dubai visualises the future of humankind. It takes us on a voyage to times ahead, times unknown. It’s also an attempt to imagine a future and embrace new possibilities.

A brainchild of the Dubai Future Foundation, the Museum of the Future is a rendition of the Foundation’s motto: imagine, design and execute. For that, the Foundation brought together storytellers, visionary technologists and artists from around the world. They gave life to a museum that provides a platform to find solutions to present-day challenges and helps design a better world. A brave new world.

Here’s what we know about the Museum of the Future, which opens on February 22.

What is the Museum of the Future?

The Museum of the Future is a mosaic of elements — from the virtual to the physical. It will be a platform to exchange varied and drastically different ideas, philosophies and spiritual learnings.

As a home for inspiration, the museum will help find solutions to problems to build a better world for tomorrow. It will be a place to learn and explore the possibilities and create something anew.

Some of the imagined futures presented in the museum are hopeful scenarios, but they acknowledge and reflect the present dangers and attempt to address them.

What’s the building’s unique shape?

The futuristic design of the gleaming torus-shaped structure is symbolic. The circular structure represents humanity; it sits atop a green mound representing the earth, and the void represents the unknown future.

The 77-metre-high structure bridges the past and the future, marrying advanced technology to traditional art forms. The building consists of seven floors and is characterised by the absence of columns inside, making its design a milestone in urban engineering.

A poem of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, rendered in the calligraphy of Mattar Bin Lahej, envelopes the facade of the stainless steel-clad building. The script on the low-carbon building is illuminated by 14 kilometres of LED lighting after dark.

What does the Arabic calligraphy say?

The Arabic calligraphy on the building consists of three quotes from Shaikh Mohammed. They are: “We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity can leave a legacy long after we are gone.” “The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it.” And “The future does not wait. The future can be designed and built today.”

Design and construction challenges

Dubai-based architectural firm Killa Design won the design competition for the museum in 2015. UK’s BuroHappold Engineering worked to turn architect Shaun Killa’s design into a building, and construction began in June 2016.

Building a torus-shaped structure without pillars was a challenge. They employed a parametric design and Building Information Modelling (Bim) to construct a technological marvel.

According to the BBC, parametric design is a process based on algorithms, which allows specific factors to be manipulated to alter the outcome of an equation. Bim is a 3D model-based technology that enables construction professionals to collaborate. It’s an efficient process that digitises both the physical and functional characteristics of a structure.

The museum’s steel framework, known as a diagrid, comprises 2,400 diagonally intersecting beams. Since the possible diagrid permutations are endless, BuroHappold wrote its growth algorithm to arrive at the optimal arrangement, a BBC report said. Work on the diagrid framework was completed in November 2018.

Built by man and machine, the museum — with its innovative design and engineering principles — reflects the future of Dubai. The construction was completed in 2022.

High praise from National Geographic

“The most beautiful building on Earth”, Shaikh Mohammed tweeted, announcing the museum’s inauguration. The National Geographic magazine named it among the 14 most beautiful museums on the planet. Other museums on the list include the Shanghai Museum of Astronomy in China, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the US capital, Washington, and the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum in Spain.

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