By Shaneer N. Siddiqui
Dubai, May 18 (IANS): As the world marks International Museum Day, the Museum of the Future in Dubai, deemed as the world's most beautiful and futuristic building, is introducing a brand new concept as it is the only museum that talks about the possibilities of the future.
Opened to the public in February 2022, the seven-storyed, column-free Museum of the Future is one of the most beautiful structures in the world. Stunning Arabic calligraphy is embellished on the stainless-steel envelope of the building, serving as punctures and openings to let the rays of light stream in. Acting as a connection between the interior and exterior, the cut-outs on the stainless-steel facade are designed by Emirati artist Mattar bin Lahej.
To carry forward the vision of the Ruler of Dubai and UAE Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the museum serves as a laboratory and a space to develop the latest technologies in big data analysis, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual and Augmented Reality, and human-machine interaction, which itself is a unique idea for a building called the museum, where in general visitors always go through the past and history.
Designed by Dubai-based Shaun Killa, the building pays tribute to the pioneering achievements of the scholars and scientists from the region and symbolises a bright future for humanity and evolution. The space also includes innovation laboratories dedicated to churning and testing ideas for a better future regarding urban design, smart cities, energy and transportation, education, health, and other critical challenges. The museum welcomes people of all ages to see, touch and shape a shared future.
Killa said in an interview that it is a building that's rich in culture, unique in its form and technically complex in its execution. Shaped like a human eye, the structure represents future vision and knowledge while the void represents the unknown that we seek to discover. The primary inspiration for the Museum of the Future was to create a form that represents the UAE Prime Minister's vision of the future where the physical building embodies floors with exhibitions that explore the possibilities of tomorrow's world.
Some major challenges in the design of the Museum of the Future include the incorporation of the calligraphy into the parametrically optimized form and as for execution, it was all about the coordination of more than 1,000 unique structural nodes and their base connections, clash avoidance with secondary support steelwork, fit-out, and MEP.
The Arabic calligraphy on the building consists of three quotes: "We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity can leave a legacy long after we are gone"; "The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it"; and "The future does not wait. The future can be designed and built today".
Announced in 2015, the Museum of the Future took almost seven years to be in shape and it cost around $136 million. Recently, Dubai Tourism released its latest campaign, 'Creating the Future with Shah Rukh Khan'. The Bollywood superstar said: "Dubai never ceases to surprise me, it has always been a city of innovation and exploration with endless future prospects."
A significant element of the museum revolves around the research and development of space travel and other complex subjects like human DNA and genetics. With an array of experiential and educational exhibits, the Museum of the Future includes a trip to outer space, and visual demonstrations of current global issues like forest fires, and climate change, and how we could tackle them.
Other unique features of the museum include a sculptural spiral staircase and several enchanting bubble lifts that transport the visitors into the 'unknown' from the massive atrium. As part of a dramatic architectural gesture, an air bridge magnificently traverses through the structure's void, serving as a harbinger of a new and advanced era. This location is a manifestation of the point where the past, present, and future unite.
The Museum of the Future is the first of its kind. Built to transform the very perception of the future as we know it, the unique structure has become home to several immersive future environments that aim to position visitors in an empowering version of the future. Through distinctive themes, it elicits a world we thought we could only experience 50 years from now. Visitors become active participants in an expansive experience that taps into all five senses. By meaningfully merging aspects of science and technology, it inspires humanity to re-imagine the future and all its possibilities.
One of the most complex and ambitious projects ever executed, with an instantly iconic inimitable exterior. Rising 77-metres above the ground, covering 3,23,000 sq feet of area on the ground and comprising 1,024 unique stainless steel composite panels, the facade is adorned in Arabic calligraphy.
There is no other building in the world constructed with such superior technologies, thereby distinguishing it from other landmarks and breaking records before its completion. Not only has the structure been ranked among the 14 most beautiful museums on the planet in a list compiled by the National Geographic, but has also won the Tikla International Building Award as a unique architectural model. Autodesk Design Software further stated that the Museum of the Future is one of the most innovative buildings in the world.
The Museum of the Future: A New Beacon for knowledge and innovation
Often, we find ourselves wondering what the future could look like, envisioning an array of possibilities, and questioning our own positioning in the world of tomorrow. What will our life look like? What will the future hold for our children?
Today, the future is at the very doorstep of humanity, the opportunity is here as we believe that the future is something we ourselves can design.
Driven by the wise vision of its leadership, as always, Dubai has brought to life a one-of-a-kind hub, for visionaries, talents, and great minds from around the globe to shape the future.
The Museum of the Future is a 'living museum' aiming to contribute to a deep intellectual movement, by connecting thinkers and experts from around the world and acting as a testbed for future generations to create innovative solutions for the challenges facing society.
Built by using robotic technology and with an emphasis on sustainability, the building is powered by 4,000 megawatts of solar energy. The Museum of the Future employs the latest technologies of virtual and augmented reality, data analysis, artificial intelligence, and human-machine interaction. Answering many questions related to the future of humans, cities, societies, life on planet Earth and outer space, the museum's exhibits orchestrate a world beyond human knowledge, providing visitors with innovative experiences unfold across five different exhibitions that explore the future of space travel and living, climate change and ecology, health, wellness, and spirituality.
Coming face-to-face with never-seen-before space technology and getting introduced to humanity's home in outer space, the visitor's journey begins in the depths of our solar system. Paying tribute to the inspiring Emirates Mars Mission project that saw the Hope Probe successfully enter Mars' orbit last year, this exhibit complements a crowning milestone for the UAE and the Arab World.
The Museum of the Future experience encourages its visitors to partake in special missions and, unlike a traditional museum that showcases fragments of the past, it provides a portal to the future, in a scientific attempt to explore its variables, potential challenges, and expected characteristics.
Visitors' journey also highlights the UAE's position as one of the first countries to announce its commitment to achieving climate neutrality by 2050, and a homage to the country's efforts in planning to host the 28th UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in Abu Dhabi in 2023.
Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, explained how this museum is like no other. "Unlike typical museums where the value of the displays appreciates in value with time because it becomes older, when you talk about the future, you need to constantly stay future relevant. So we are very excited about how we can continually create that story," he said.
Sarah Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairperson of the UAE Space Agency said: "It provides the people element, which is the most important ingredient for innovation and development, for us, it's a major ingredient in the development of the economy and the further diversification of the economy, and more importantly, for increasing the impact and outcomes from existing sectors of the economy."
Though the Museum of the Future in Dubai may be one of the UAE's latest technological and architectural marvels, it also epitomises the country's diverse natural ecosystem, which boasts a vast range of local flora, and fauna, terrestrial and marine wildlife.
One cannot help but notice the huge green plateau upon which the building stands. On closer inspection, guests discover that the hill is in fact a resplendent garden comprising around 100 species of trees and plants, reflecting the natural diversity that is an integral part of the UAE's heritage.
Featuring ghaf, sidr, palm, and acacia trees, which are well adapted to local environmental conditions, the garden is equipped with a smart, automated irrigation system and supports local bee and bird populations. With Dubai's summer temperatures hitting close to 50 degrees Celsius, and with an average rainfall of 130 mm per year, irrigation was one of the main considerations for the plateau. A smart irrigation system uses a sub-surface mat that delivers water directly to the root system in a targeted, efficient approach. The plateau's steep slopes allow quick water run-off, removing the need for water-intense flood irrigation. The hill's steep slopes allow for rapid water flow, eliminating the need for pumped irrigation. Additionally, water collection and recycling systems are used to reduce water wastage by approximately 25 per cent.
The UAE is a country that knows how to take care of its heritage. There are more than 50 museums across the country. In which, along with the Future Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Sharjah Islamic Museum and Dubai Museum are important.
There are 16 world class museums in Sharjah alone. Sharjah through its 16 museums covers a widely diverse area, including Islamic art and culture, archaeology, heritage, science, marine life, as well as the history of Sharjah and the region.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is one such cultural lighthouse that brings together diverse cultures to shed fresh light on the shared stories of humanity. It represents the dynamic nature of the contemporary Arab world while celebrating the vibrant multicultural heritage of the region.