The final touchdown took place in the presence of Ali Majed Al Mansoori, chairman of the Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), who pressed the button that completes the placement of the museum’s dome onto the four permanent piers of the museum. The giant steel dome lifted and fixed in its place at the Louvre Abu Dhabi was witnessed by along him some other board members, TDIC senior management and senior management of the contractors.
The TDIC, a master developer of major cultural developments on Saadiyat Island that is off Abu Dhabi City, revealed the lifting process is to include the raising of the dome in one piece off the temporary towers and then lowering it about a foot down onto its four permanent supporting piers.
Preparations before the lift included extensive testing of the bearings for months in laboratories in California, USA, where they were proven capable to support the final weight of the dome during its lifespan.
The simultaneous and remotely controlled use of 32 hydraulic jacks, manufactured specifically for the project that can hold up to 10,000 tonnes in weight made the operation possible though very strenuous.
The dome of the museum, weighing 7,000 tonnes has a span of 180 metres, was constructed in 10 months, and was originally built on a number of temporary towers whilst under construction. Lifting and mounting it into position could be considered the first of its kind in the world of construction for such a structure of this scale and size.
The steel builder Waagner-Biro Stahlbau AG, a leading Austrian steel engineering organisation representative Mr Johann Sischka, board member, said: “The construction and sophistication of the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s dome is among the more unique projects we have undertaken. It is remarkable in its design and size, and given that it must be placed in precise spots on its four piers, there was no room for error. One would not believe the amount of detail that goes down to achieving the results we have realised today.”
Besides the above, on site construction is progressing on-site of the Museum at a steady pace, the concrete work almost completed with a total of 34,000 tonnes of reinforcement steel bars used and over 21million man/hours completed. The permanent gallery, the museum’s basement levels and the security screening facility and a highly secure seven-metre high basement through which all the artwork of the museum will transit in and out via a 1.2 km Saadiyat Tunnel are all virtually complete.
Designed by Pritzker-prize winning French architect Jean Nouvel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi has 9,200m² of art galleries, 6,681m² of ‘Permanent Galleries’ and a dedicated space of 2,364m² for temporary exhibitions.