This Impressive Winged Museum In Abu Dhabi Cools Itself Naturally

Designed by British firm Foster + Partners, the Zayed National Museum is supposed to be an exceptional new projection gaining completion soon in Abu Dhabi. The extraordinary structure features five sculpted “wings”, which aren’t simply present just to look good. Their purpose is to maintain a cool interior naturally. The plans for the Zayed National Museum were unveiled in 2010 and were intended to be a monument to the UAE’s first president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The unique winged form is inspired by the late president’s love for falconry and traditional Islamic motifs.

Designer: Foster + Partners

The main building of the museum is designed to be a 98-foot-tall “mound” which imitates the topography of the UAE. Decorative steel wings seem to grow out of the building, ranging from heights of 83 m to 123 m. The intricate wings are pretty complex, and they remind you of the RIBA Stirling Prize winner New Library, Magdalene College. The wings function like chimneys, pulling hot air up and out of the building.

“The heat at the top of the towers works to draw the air up vertically through the galleries due to the thermal stack effect,” said Foster + Partners. “Air vents open at the top of the wing-shaped towers taking advantage of the negative pressure on the lee of the wing profile to draw the hot air out. Fresh air is also captured at low level and drawn through buried ground-cooling pipes and then released into the museum’s lobby.”

The interior includes a massive atrium that instantly grabs attention. The entire interior layout is focused around this atrium, and it is lit up with indirect natural light to prevent heating of the space. The upper story contains four pod-shaped galleries which have been placed at the base of each wing. When ready, the museum’s exhibits will showcase ancient marine creations from millions of years ago, early Aramaic coins, warfare, and contemporary culture. It will also include a landscaped narrative garden which will display the important moments of Sheikh Zayed’s life.