Museum of the Future in Dubai, designed by Shaun Killa, breaks ground this week

by Tom Anstey | 06 Mar 2015

The Museum of the Future in Dubai, announced last week by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, will start on site this week.

The museum has been designed by architect Shaun Killa, for 16 years a director of Atkins, and responsible for some of the Middle East’s most celebrated buildings. Killa's new architectural practice, Killa Design – which is based in Dubai – will undertake the work.

Located next to the Emirates Towers on Dubai's Sheikh Zayed Road, the AED500m (US$136.1m, €123.2m, £89.4m) museum will be housed in a mirrored, elliptical, ring-shaped building, with a void at the centre. A short promotional video shows this void space being used to display a projection.

The UAE’s minister of cabinet affairs, Mohammed Al Gergawi, said the building’s curved, steel-clad exterior will feature the Arabic poetry of Sheikh Mohammed. Light will enter the building through the perforated text, casting patterns of Arabic script.

The purpose of the museum is to act as a catalyst for innovation and real change, both in the UAE and wider afield. Sheikh Mohammed took to Twitter to describe it as “an integrated environment, empowering creative minds to test, fund and market ideas for futuristic prototypes and services”, and a "destination for the best and brightest inventors and entrepreneurs”.

Plans are for the museum to change its exhibits every six months to keep pace with changing technology. The aim is to "always be 10 years ahead of today."

Sheikh Mohammed said the museum will provide a “permanent home for the world’s greatest innovations.” It will be used by people in industry, education and tourism, offering advanced courses and specialised workshops and won’t just showcase prototypes, but will also develop them in special innovation labs — in line with its official motto, “See the Future, Create the Future.”

"The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it. While others try to predict the future, we will create it," he added.

Sheikh Mohammed said the museum is the “first step of many to come”, in his efforts to turn the UAE into a global engine for change. The UAE government has named 2015 as the Year of Innovation, saying it aims to create “a major international destination for innovators.”

It has also been increasing its investment in technology, by supporting tech start-ups and sponsoring initiatives such as Drones for Good, which is exploring humanitarian uses for drones.

In an associated move, the UAE’s Du Telecoms organisation is collaborating with MIT’s Senseable City Lab. The partners are exploring how tech can be used to improve the city of the future.

The museum will open in 2017 and in keeping with its theme, some of the elements of the building will be 3D printed, while it will also incorporate bespoke technology.

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The Museum of the Future in Dubai, announced last week by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, will start on site this week. The museum has been designed by architect Shaun Killa, for 16 years a director of Atkins, and responsible for some of the Middle East’s most celebrated buildings. Killa's new architectural practice, Killa Design – which is based in
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The museum will showcase innovations in design and technology from multiple fields
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