London-based architectural practice Foster + Partners has unveiled the designs for the Zayed National Museum, which will become part of the Saadiyat Island Cultural District in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The development is set within a landscaped garden and incorporates traditional Arabic elements in a contemporary design form.
The sustainable scheme features five solar thermal towers, which also act as thermal chimneys to draw cooling air currents naturally through the museum.
According to the practice, the museum’s lightweight steel structures are sculpted aerodynamically to work like the feathers of a bird.
The galleries are placed at the base of the wing-shaped towers, which are anchored by the top-lit central lobby and an outdoor arena.
The treatment of light and shade draws on a tradition of discreet, carefully positioned openings, which capture and direct the region’s intense sunlight to illuminate and animate interior spaces.
The building also features an auditorium, performance venues, a central courtyard restaurant, cafes and retail spaces.