Etihad Museum: An Architectural Tribute

By Etihad Museum

Located at the very place where the United Arab Emirates was formed on 2 December 1971, the 25,000 m2 Etihad Museum, designed by Moriyama
& Teshima Architects, is an icon of modern architecture.

Etihad Museum Entrance PavilionEtihad Museum

Situated next to the historic Union House where the original treaty was signed, and the Guest Palace that has been traditionally used by the Ruler of Dubai to welcome guests and dignitaries, much of the museum is located underground to preserve the memory of the site.

Etihad Museum Entrance PavilionEtihad Museum

Above ground, the landscape designed to re-establish the original waterfront shoreline, features a plaza and light pools mirroring the glorious structure, intertwined with walkways that allow visitors to navigate the museum’s different indoor facilities and outdoor spaces.

Etihad Museum Entrance Pavilion – Close UpEtihad Museum

The parabolic Visitor's Pavilion’s flowing façade is a masterful tribute to the manuscripts on which the ‘Union Agreement’ was originally signed and its seven tapered bronze columns are inspired by the pens with which the document was officiated.

Etihad Museum Entrance Pavilion – Close UpEtihad Museum

The ‘envelope’ shaped design of the Visitor's Pavilion is an architectural marvel that combines innovative design and intelligent engineering to ensure a strong structural foundation while maintaining the sense of lightness intended for the ‘floating paper’ effect.

Wissam Shawkat - Calligraphic InstallationEtihad Museum

The journey into the museum’s glass-clad atrium befittingly begins with a colossal tribute to the first step in the journey of the UAE – a mammoth sculpture featuring the preamble of the national constitution.

Etihad Museum Interior – AmphitheaterEtihad Museum

Across a sea of marble, on the other side of the inspiring space, rows of steps form a modern-day amphitheater that connects to a mezzanine-level café and flexible exhibition space offering panoramic vistas of the entire area.

Etihad Museum Interior – Grand StaircaseEtihad Museum

Beyond the grand steps of the amphitheater, a summoning stairway that echoes the graceful curves of Arabic calligraphic scripts, lead into the museum’s sub-structure featuring permanent and temporary galleries, theatres, event spaces and a library.

Etihad Museum Interior – Permanent ExhibitionEtihad Museum

Billowing white ceiling planes accentuated by carved wood columns and bronze forms house experience-driven exhibitions and interactive programmes that explore the chronology of events that culminated in the unification of the Emirates in 1971, with a focus on the social and political period between 1968 and 1974.

Etihad Museum Interior – Wooden ColumnsEtihad Museum

Etihad Museum Interior – Founding Fathers SectionEtihad Museum

These seven main displays pay tribute to the to the seven Founding Fathers through a feature of their portraits and a collection of their personal assets.

Etihad Museum Interior – Glimpses of the Past SectionEtihad Museum

The open free-flowing spatial planning of the museum along with the absence of light exposure allows for multiple multimedia screens and interactive experiences to be interspersed throughout the exhibition’s fit-outs.

Etihad Museum Interior – Road To Unification Al Falaj SectionEtihad Museum

These different sections feature educational content to cultivate the site as an active historic and cultural campus.

Etihad Museum Interior – One Nation One Future SectionEtihad Museum

Etihad Museum Interior – AuditoriumEtihad Museum

Submerging the museum underground facilitated the creation of an integrated spacious auditorium which reflects balance and modernity in its design aesthetics.

Etihad Museum Interior – Sunken CourtyardEtihad Museum

The exhibition spaces open up into two sunken courtyards and four skylights that connect to the plaza above, creating a seamless visual continuity between the inside and the outside. They also allow for key functional areas: the classrooms, museum library, administration offices, and café were strategically clustered around these natural light sources to optimize their use.

Etihad Museum Interior – LibraryEtihad Museum

Light-wells from the sunken garden illuminate the museum’s library and create isolated pockets that are ideal for reading, studying or a moment of quiet contemplation.

Etihad Museum Interior LibraryEtihad Museum

Etihad Museum Interior – Spiral Stairs to the Union HouseEtihad Museum

360 Tour of Etihad MuseumEtihad Museum

This interactive video takes you on a 360 tour of Etihad Museum.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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