Sheikh Zayed National Museum

United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi 2007 Competition

The inspiration behind the “immense concave veils” of Christian de Portzamparc’s design for the Sheikh Zayed National Museum was “the sheets of a tent, the sails of a Dhow” as a way to represent the intemporal Bedouin existence in these eternal lands, where the stars silhouette the immensity of a silent sea of dunes.
This project is not a simple building, it represents the breath of a nation exemplified by Sheikh Zayed.
We enter the large space of the monumental tent on foot or by car, enjoying its coolness and fringe of water. The envelope reveals a partnership between light and shade. The areas of the museum are organized according to an axial hierarchy which defines the route.
Dominating the peninsula of Saadiyat, the large curved zones are wefts of cables in which are threaded blocks of ceramic.


Public equipment devoted to the founder of the United Arab Emirates.
Museum with 5 galleries : inheritance , environment, unity of the Emirates, development, education.
Theatre, shops, café.


Christian de Portzamparc


Abu Dhabi Government, Tourism Development + Investment Company (TDIC)


13,000 sq.m.