The Etihad Museum celebrates the founding of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is located on the waterfront in Dubai. The Etihad Museum is housed in the historic Union House, where the country’s Constitution was written in 1971 and consists of a parabolic-shaped Pavilion building and an underground Museum.
The bronze metal writing cites the nation’s foundational concept and is presented in a scroll-like style that evokes the parchment paper of the Constitution. Embossed bronze columns arranged in seven rows take on the shape and slant of moving pens to symbolize the process of writing that cemented the union of the seven emirates.
The Etihad Museum is a 21st-century cultural hub dedicated to enthralling guests with the remarkable tale of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) inception. Fittingly, the 25,000 square-meter landmark is on the site where the United Arab Emirates was established back in 1971.
Experience-driven exhibitions, interactive programs, and educational initiatives trace the timeline of occurrences leading up to the unification of the Emirates in 1971 through a series of themed pavilions that take visitors on a trip through time.
The programs are also designed to teach foreigners about the UAE’s Constitution and the liberties, duties, and obligations that it entails for UAE citizens.
The Canadian architectural firm of Moriyama and Teshima was influenced by the curvature of the Constitution while designing the museum’s distinctive curving white roof. In addition, the agreement’s signatures are represented by seven columns. There’s a café, a temporary exhibition space, and a library in the Etihad Museum.
The architectural design of the Etihad Museum
The pavilion’s white marble flooring provides a striking contrast to the dark wood and dark stone walls, while the Amphitheatre stairs provide a casual meeting spot for school groups and lectures. Visitors may access the café and adaptable exhibition area located on the mezzanine level, which is surrounded by rough, ribbed black marble stone.
Visitors to the Pavilion are led below ground on a magnificent stairway and ramp whose shapes are reminiscent of the dazzling and flowing patterns of Arabic calligraphy.
After coming down, guests are greeted by Union House’s signature spherical shape via the foundation wall’s freshly installed dune-like carved stone. This recognizable aspect is used as a major organizational component to help people go through the museum’s large open permanent gallery and supporting rooms that surround it.
The carved wood columns and the sheen of the bronze forms that highlight the warmth of this lower level are complemented by the billowing white ceiling planes that take shape from the motifs of prevailing wind patterns rippling on the desert sands.
This underground museum’s design depended on the lack of natural light in sections that would not profit from their exposure, such as permanent and temporary galleries, a theater, event spaces, and archive facilities.
Key functional areas, including classrooms, a research library, administrative offices, prayer rooms, and a café, were strategically clustered around these natural light sources to maximize their use, thanks to the integration of two large sunken courtyards and four enormous skylights that connect to the plaza above.
The museum’s programming is designed to be an immersive learning environment; thus, it was essential that visitors be able to move freely across the space. The property is being developed into an active historical and cultural campus with the use of multimedia screens that contain instructional information.
The Etihad Pavilion’s seemingly straightforward continuous double-curved shell conceals a complex envelope and sub-substructure construction. Innovations in the steel superstructure and cladding assembly were required to realize the massive cantilevers of the curving shell, which created the illusion of a floating sheet of paper.
The primary glass façade had to become an integral part of the structure and act in shear because of the substantial structural eccentricity caused by the massive Eastern entry overhang and inclined structural columns. This façade is the first sloping glass fin façade in the world, thanks to its single-element structural glass columns.
The Pavilion shell is clad in double-curved GFRP (Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer), and it was developed with the use of cutting-edge parametric design methodologies that accurately informed four main teams. The penalization of the Pavilion was designed with the use of these techniques.
Subdividing the grid into smaller and smaller squares produced an additional layer of micro roughness and whirling movements over the windswept façade, and ultimately a diamond subdivision was chosen to highlight the curve of the folding paper shape. Modern glass coatings were used in place of the original calligraphic dual-colored gradient frit to keep the façade transparent while yet meeting solar gain and glare control requirements.
How to get to Etihad Museum?
The museum can be found on Jumeirah Road, which is part of Highway D94. Also, the distance to the Dubai International Airport is only 13 kilometers. To get there, use the subway, the bus, or a cab. Tell your taxi driver to drop you down at the Union House.
Al Jafiliya Station, World Trade Centre, and Emirates Towers are the closest stops on the Dubai Metro. Similarly, Dhiyafa 1, Dhiyafa 2, and ENOC Dhiyafa are the closest bus stations. The airport is easy to get to because of the convenient transportation links to and from it.