The Façade of the Museum of the Future… an unprecedented interface towards an innovative future

Even in a city such as Dubai where buildings rise from the ground up with extraordinary speed and precision, the Museum of the Future stands out. Situated alongside the main arterial highway beside the driverless metro system, it is an expressive and dynamic landmark collaboratively built by man and machine.

The glimmering, futuristic building represents humankind in all its strength, creativity and unmatched ability to exist within its surroundings. The elliptical void represents the unknown; a statement of all that which we do not yet know – in a word, the future. Its Arabic calligraphy-wrapped façade displays Emirati passion for the arts, culture, discovery and the endless pursuit of knowledge, innovation and progress.

Windows allowing natural light to flood into the seven-storey structure are designed in the form of calligraphy intricately 3D-mapped onto the building’s curved body. Written on the exterior are the words of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai. Featuring three extracts from His Highness’ quotes, one particularly fitting in the context of this architectural masterpiece, the building reads “The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it and execute it. It isn’t something you await, but rather create.”

Standing 77 metres tall, the avant-garde façade is made of stainless steel and glass, consisting of 1,024 separate panels, each one specially created by robots and algorithms. The number of panels has its own significance. It represents a basic unit of the digital information storage system of computers, which is a kilobyte, and each kilobyte is equal to 1,024 bytes. The Arabic script windows cast light into the interior by day and at night illuminate the city’s iconic skyline with 14 kilometres of energy-saving, resource-efficient LED lights.

Due to the building’s complex geometry and flowing calligraphy, each separate panel is unique. No two are alike. Each piece had to be individually precast and produced, with numerous protypes designed and manufactured before a winning formular could be achieved.

Every single panel was produced using automated robotic arms. Each panel is made up of four layers and was created following a complex 16-step process. The precision and focus required to create each panel meant that only several could be produced per day.

Parametric modelling was essential to determine the final position, size and dimensions of the Arabic lettering on each panel to ensure it offered optimum balance between natural light, solar heat gain and air conditioning load without compromising its architectural aesthetic.

The installation period for the façade lasted around 18 months.

The innovative design and engineering principles deployed represent the future of Dubai and the extraordinary talent of its citizens and residents. The low-carbon project features passive solar architecture through its extraordinary façade, as well as low-energy and low-water engineering solutions with integrated renewable capabilities.

The landmark is a shining example of the city’s low-carbon future and Is a significant product of the Dubai Future Foundation, founded to position Dubai as a leading city of the Future.

Built by both man and machine, it reflects the limitless ambition of our country’s leadership to create an optimistic future for the region and world. As you gaze up at the brilliant architectural marvel, one line from His Highness’ quotes sends out a message that echoes through eternity: “We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity can last even longer.”

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