I recently received a text message with a link to The Museum of the Future.
I hadn't heard about it until that point so I was intrigued.
As soon as I saw the elliptical shaped building nestled amid the towering skyscrapers of Dubai, I was dumbfounded! I was awe-struck by the shape of the building and astounded at how far Dubai had come in defining itself as a futurist global city. I remember how mesmerized I was back in 1999 when Dubai's Burj-al-Arab, the third tallest hotel in the world built to resemble the billowing sail of a J-class yacht, was completed, an iconic symbol of luxury and modern design, signaling the grand ambitions of this Emirati nation.
The Museum of the Future magnifies this ambition ten-fold, solidifying Dubai's reputation even further as a global, interconnected hub, fueled by oil & gas wealth.
The goal of the museum is to promote technological advances and innovation especially in the field of artificial intelligence and augmented reality.
The 253 feet tall architectural marvel will provide the largest platform in the region to study, envision, and design the future. It is intended to be an incubator for global talent and bold ideas that will play a key role in strengthening Dubai's future and providing a clear roadmap for its vital sectors.
In the words of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Makhtoum:
"The Museum of the Future is a major leap in Dubai's and the UAE's journey towards building a knowledge-based future economy, employing advanced technology in all development sectors, and contributing to creating an inclusive scientific and intellectual movement".
The glimmering elliptical facade is made up of 1,024 stainless steel panels manufactured by a specialized robot-assisted process, displaying lines of Arabic calligraphy quoting Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Makhtoum:
"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...the future doesn't wait"
"The future can be designed and built today. Innovation is not an intellectual luxury. It is the secret behind the evolution and rejuvenation of nations and peoples.
The beautiful calligraphy, which also acts as windows, is by Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej.
Each facade panel consists of four layers requiring a 16-step process to produce. Each one was installed individually, with the installation period for the external facade lasting more than 18 months.
The building spans an area of 323,000 square feet, and consists of seven storeys without any weight-bearing pillars. It has been recognized by National Geographic as one of the world's 14 most beautiful museums. It is also considered one of the most complex architectural projects in the world, constructed using the "parametric design" model, a 3-D technology where features are shaped according to algorithmic processes. Autodesk's Revit BIM software played a key role in the building's design.
The inspiration of the torus shape comes from Feng Shui: The structure's circular form is said to represent humanity. The green mound it rests on represents earth, and the void in the middle represents an unknown future.
"The Museum of the Future is a living museum, constantly adapting and metamorphosing as its very environment drives continual and iterative change to its exhibits and attractions", said Mohammed Al Gergawi, chairman of the Dubai Future Foundation.
Visitors are transported to the year 2071, the centenary of the founding of the United Arab Emirates.
Upon entering, visitors are greeted by a free-standing double helix staircase.
Each floor is dedicated to a different experience of the future including immersive exhibitions focusing on outer space resource development, ecosystems and bio-engineering, along with health and wellness. Future Heroes is a space designed for children under the age of ten to stimulate their scientific curiosity.
Pictures showing the different galleries including: Journey of the Pioneer's cosmic-themes OSS Hope, the Al-Waha (oasis) a sensory exploratory area devoid of technological distractions, the Vault of Life a replica of the Rainforest to help guests understand nature and their responsibility towards it, the Tomorrow Today display showcasing forward-thinking products and prototypes, and the entrance.
The museum's structure is powered through its own dedicated solar park and has achieved LEED Platinum status, a worldwide rating reserved for the world's most energy-efficient and environmental designs.
photo credit: Dubai Future Foundation
At night the facade of the museum comes alive thanks to 46,000 feet of LED light lines tracing the Arabic calligraphy.
The museum's vision and mission is to be a destination for the best and brightest inventors, researchers, scientists and entrepreneurs, "offering an integrated environment empowering creative minds to test, fund and market ideas for futuristic prototypes and services."
Dubai has come a long way since its founding in 1971 when it was a pearl-diving backwater amidst the Arabian desert. The Museum of the Future is a stunning addition to the world's most important landmarks and represents a major leap in Dubai's and the United Arab Emirate's journey towards affirming itself as a global leader of cutting edge technology, architecture and innovation.
Dubai has been on my places-to-visit list for over a decade. Do I need any reasons to delay my trip further?
Entry fee as of print is $39.50
Address: Sheikh Zayed Road. Trade Center 2. Dubai. United Arab Emirates