More than a museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi is a shining new star on the world’s cultural scene.



An engineering and design marvel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is more than a museum. With its vast cosmic dome and series of tidal pools, the project is a shining new star that illustrates Abu Dhabi’s evolution from an oil-rich nation state into a global cultural capital.

Echoing the rich history of people on the Arabian Peninsula in its design, Abu Dhabi Louvre attracts more than a million visitors each year. This “museum in the sea”, designed by a Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel and inaugurated in 2017, is dominated by its 7,500-tonne floating dome. Inspired by the Arabic cupola found throughout Middle Eastern architecture, the dome spans 180-metres in diameter. Its eight layers feature 7,850 aluminium stars of varying sizes that create a “rain of light”, like sunlight filtering through the fronts of the native date palm.

At a glance

  • Client
    Tourism Development & Investment Company / Department of Culture and Tourism
  • Services
    Cost Management & Quantity Surveying
  • sector
    Public & Civic
  • Location
    Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Balancing beauty and budget

Bringing imagination to life on a bespoke and complex project like Louvre Abu Dhabi requires a team of talented people. Drawing on our deep experience working on some of the world’s most iconic and innovative public buildings, and our database of world’s best practice and benchmarks, RLB was proud to provide post-contract cost management services for the project’s developer, the Tourism Development & Investment Company and the Department of Culture and Tourism.

“On a project like Louvre Abu Dhabi, it is the balance of beauty and budget that delivers enduring value. Few structures are built out on to the water, and even fewer hold priceless collections of art. Pushing the boundaries demanded innovative thinking and flawless execution.”
Natalie Stockman, Director, RLB

For more than two centuries we’ve taken ambitious projects from an idea to reality. On projects like Louvre Abu Dhabi, we know confidence today inspires discovery tomorrow.

The mesmerising “museum in the sea” was created by flooding the surrounding tidal pools with salt water

A challenging task for the specialist geotechnical and water engineers. The result? A building that shimmers in the desert, while still maintaining the perfect environment to protect precious artworks from the corrosive marine environment.

A shining star shimmers in the desert

More than 4,680 panels of ultra-high performance, precision-fitted concrete form the museum’s walls. The unique dimensions of each doorway, window and room emulate the maze of the hand-crafted buildings found in the medinas.

  • 74,000
    gross floor area
  • 44
    buildings and 23 galleries
  • 7,500
    domed roof

The best results come from the best people

Working with a challenging brief that was many years in the making, RLB’s project team kept a laser-focus on our client’s budget. Our detailed cost allocation and management – down to the last detail – helped realise a dream for the people of Abu Dhabi.

Smart and sustainable

With passive cooling and a design inspired by traditional desert architecture, Louvre Abu Dhabi incorporates 44 separate buildings and 23 galleries to create a sense of shaded alleys, streets and squares. The patterned roof of the celestial dome permits daylight to penetrate the interior while the stone cladding keeps the building cool. Together with clever water and energy conservation, the building is a sustainability star. RLB is proud to play our part delivering a better tomorrow through careful execution today.