Last weekend, I attended the opening of this fantastic new museum in Abu Dhabi, and there is so much to say about its stunning collection which I will be posting individually, but for now, let’s talk about this piece of architecture, by Jean Nouvel.
– the dome is made out of overlapping geometric lattices weighting over 7,500 tons – almost the same as the Eiffel Tower. It is supposed to appear light and almost floating, allowing for light to poor into the space – I must say, in my experience, the opposite occurs. It appears to be heavy, and almost no light at all manages to come into the open space.
– it is supposed to be an ode to nature, but these allusions are not felt at all. It rather feels like an alien ship has poised over the space.
– this does not mean that the space does not work, because it does. It is a gorgeous airy space, that allows for nice open air wandering. More than that is a little bit of a stretch.
– it is supposed to be made of 55 detached buildings, however, as one wanders in its interiors, it feels like just one large fragmented labyrinth.
– the permanent connections to the water is lovely, and allows for a soothing environment.
– apart from this, the building does not impress. It does not use the wonderful traditions of Arabic Architecture such as the love for geometry, mathematics, patterns and color, which in my opinion, is a profound shame. Arabian and Islamic tradition in architecture is breathtakingly beautiful, and this Building simply ignores and disregards all these connections and meanings, by creating yet another ode to post-modernist architecture. Come on Jean Nouvel……. you could have done better than this!
I love this sacred place, not only because it is incredibly beautiful and breathtaking, specially at sunset, but also because of its inner significance. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is supposed to be a place for unity and harmony. It does this by opening the doors for anyone and everyone whom want to come into this place of peace, but also in its architecture features which include the best from each corner of the world: Persian carpets, Italian marble, Venetian Murano Chandeliers, American technology…. and many others, all united in the architectural language of The Islamic tradition. Unity!! World unity!! If that’s not beautiful then what is?