The “Museum of the Future”, located in Dubai, is a stunning architectural marvel that is touted as the most beautiful building in the world. Located on the city’s main highway, the circular structure, straight out of a movie, represents humanity and our hope for the future.
Designed by architect Shaun Killa of Killa Design, this futuristic getaway incorporates elements of traditional exhibits, immersive theater and themed attractions. We spoke to Shaun Killa, the mastermind behind this company, about what it took to make this journey into the future:
The structure itself is an architectural marvel. Did you encounter any difficulties during its design?
The Museum of the Future has been one of the most challenging projects I have designed because it is a culturally rich building, 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 we seek to discover.
The main inspiration for the Museum of the Future was to create a form that represents the vision of the future of the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, where the physical building embodies floors with exhibits that explore the possibilities of the world of tomorrow.
Some major challenges in the design of the Museum of the Future include the incorporation of calligraphy into the parametrically optimized form and in execution it involved the coordination of over 1,000 unique structural nodes and their basic connections. , avoid conflicts with secondary support flight work, layout and MEP.
The museum has ancient Arabic calligraphy carvings on the building. How and why did you choose to integrate them?
From the first sketch of the Museum of the Future, I had integrated calligraphy on the facade of the museum to create the windows of the structure and to contextualize the building in this region using the ancient art of calligraphy but further contextualizing the building to Dubai using quotes from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed.
The Arabic calligraphy on the building consists of three quotes: “We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity may 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.
You have kept sustainability at the center of your architectural efforts. Tell us more about it
Sustainability for Killa Design is a holistic approach that emphasizes embodied carbon, renewable energy, water management, waste recycling and green transportation. For the Museum of the Future, sustainability has been the main driver since its first sketch. The aspiration was to make the design, manufacturing and its operational resources as sustainable as possible using the world’s highest innovative technologies.
As part of this strategy, the project achieved LEED Platinum certification using passive solar architecture, low energy and low water consumption engineering solutions, energy harvesting strategies and of water and the construction of integrated renewable energies from an off-site solar park located on the roofs of surrounding buildings. To protect against solar radiation, more than two thirds of this building are located under the green plateau; one of the key design decisions that helped the museum achieve its sustainability rating was due to the reduction of the heat island effect.
Did you have any preferences when you chose the location of the museum?
We cited the museum on an existing surface car park, due to its central position to link Dubai Metro and the retail, commercial and hospitality towers of the Emirates Towers through the museum’s podium structure; this created the vital pedestrian link that was needed to connect the town to the site.
This site also becomes a visual hub for the heartbeat of residences and visitors to central Dubai. The podium structure elevates the museum above the subway line and at the same time replaces the previously mature trees that surrounded the parking lot into a verdant hill structure. This hill is scalable, connecting the museum and restaurants at different levels. Its cultural aspect is created by highlighting the ancient art form of Arabic calligraphy.
The pandemic has changed the way we travel, and even museums have paid the price. Do you believe that the Museum of the future can bring visitors back to physical spaces?
Since its opening on the unique date of 22.02.22, the museum has been sold out as curious visitors make their reservations. As the world emerges from the pandemic, people are even more eager to explore different experiences, including museums and other cultural experiences.