Today, we do not only go to museums to admire its historic collections or art exhibits. Certainly, we go through a whole journey of spaces, visuals, reflections and architecture in Abu Dhabi city. The Bridges we drive through every day & Libraries we visit transcended to artistic works of Architects. So here’s some of unique archirecture destinations found in Abu Dhabi city through spatial goggles.
Abu Dhabi City Architecture
SHIEKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE
It’s a live example of turning around a prayer destination to an architectural statement of culture and modernity. Once you reach its site, you are led through glass domes. Afterwards, you will pass across the mosque to underground facilities and a route where you come up into its exterior campus. There, fountains run around a holistic view of its decorated facades, domes and minarets. So, It’s definitely one of the gems of Abu Dhabi City.
Going Inside The Grand Mosque
Walking through its vaulted corridors reflects a sense of cultured modernism in its fine outlines. In addition to Islamic architecture in its intricate carvings and Quran verses that embellishes its domes. They reflect the combination of multiple Islamic architecture styles including Mamluk, Ottoman & Fatimid. It is designed by a group of International architects.
The marble studded columns and spacious court feature fine artistic florals, tessellated in golden outlines and vivid colors along with all sorts of surfaces. Therefore, the Art value in this mosque is also apparent in its carefully designed and placed glass. It reflects those floral patterns in between the mosque’s sections.
As this Grand mosque symbolizes UAE’s founder Shiekh Zayed’s vision, it hosts the world’s biggest handmade Chandelier and Carpet, reflecting one another in a holistic perspective for worshipers to admire. The artistic dialogue between sky and land is also apparent in every section of this mosque. For instance the ladies’ prayer hall, where the colorful chandeliers are reflected on the prayer carpets in floral designs.
LOUVRE ABU DHABI
On the other hand hosts a collaborative exhibit of International history and all facets of art between UAE and France on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island; a vision composed through Architect Jean Nouvel’s design. In 2007, the leaders of Abu Dhabi initiated this cultural hub as one of the most iconic Architectural landmarks of the MENA-Region. 10 years later In 2017, the Louvre Abu Dhabi opened.
“When I started working on this project, I did not know it would be the Louvre, but that it would become a museum of civilizations—the plural of this word is important”, Jean Nouvel, 2017
More of the museum
The Emirati Louvre is a combination of concrete, water, spacious outdoors. In addition to, the visual connections of them all through broad windows & sunlight. Designed to suit the climate of Abu Dhabi, its materials & structure are designed to cool the inside out of these spaces passively. Moreover, the building’s blocks isolate a portion of the thermal energy, and water spaces combination with those blocks direct wind routes & distribute sunlight effectively.
One of its major features is its Dome, a floating looking structure of 7,500 tons, merging technology with heritage. The 8 layered dome consists of 7,850 stars in different sizes and rotations, reflecting sunlight on its masses and water.
Galleries display the museum’s exhibits through a historical and artistic journey in a chronological order instead of a geographical one, where you can view all sorts of cultures within consecutive historical stages in parallel to each other.
Starting off with ancient history exhibits and ending modern art, the journey in between those galleries keep the visitors connected with their outdoors through broad pattern-based windows. Enriched with iconic quotes that turns around your tour from history and art to a philosophical journey, those windows feature Oscar Wilde, Leonardo Da Vinci, Ibn Khaldon and more.
In between tribal exhibits and religious ones, renaissance art and portraits, the exhibitions take a turn to modern symbolism, which uses the galleries’ physical spaces as its canvas.
Finally, reaching the final indoor exhibits, a carefully designed path accompanies you to the outdoors, where all galleries’ facades are spotted in contrast with the water extending around the outdoor stage and facilities. The sunlight dome covers up this constellation of solids and voids while leading perspectives towards Abu Dhabi’s skyline.
QASR AL HOSN
Our final destination is an originally Presidential fortress that turned into a complex of cultural buildings sharing the same landscape.
Established in 1790, making it the oldest building and afterwards complex in Abu Dhabi. It housed the ruling family, the national archive and more governmental seats along its history. However, it underwent renovations for around 10 years before reopening it in 2018, where the whole site expanded into a cultural hub
Nowadays, the site does not host the president or the government anymore. Instead it turned into a community hub, and a visitors’ destination, where they can dive into UAE’s history and culture.
Once you arrive at Qasr Al Hosn’s campus, you spot the fortress, its watchtower & House of Artisans, with its crafted entrance. Al Hosn’s cultural center imitates its arched patterns, and the interesting bunch of topographical structures going through the water feature represents the site’s mosque.
The cultural center consists of a children’s library and crafts center, as well as multiple exhibitions. Exhibits mostly host Saudia Arabia’s gifts to the UAE and some Arabian artists’ modern interpretations of art.
Walking into the mosque’s blocks through glass paths, you start connecting with your surroundings, the sunlight beaming in-between spaces, & the water underneath. Therefore, worshipers also go through a different experience. As they pray in front of a naturally lit Qiblah and under the composition of lighting above them.
Qasr Al Hosn itself is a historic structure of coral and sea stones that was renovated with a modern exterior. The modern surfaces highlight its original structure through its compartments’ arches and the governmental buildings’ footprints recorded within its court’s landscape.
While the fort’s different sections are also connected through paths overlooking its garden and landscape, it keeps you in constant connection with your surroundings, knowing where you are at, and where you are going.
Above all, It is quite interesting to sit back and watch the contrast in skyline and textures between Qasr Al Hosn and the relatively modern structures at its background, where you spot high-rise curtain walls surrounding this historically cultured site.
This spatial perspective of the city is first-hand evidence of the wonders arising when technical advancement artistically and passionately frames our vivid cultures. Read more about architecture in different cities.