Foster + Partners’ recently revealed new designs for an awe-inspiring wing-shaped museum in Abu Dhabi. Called the Zayed National Museum, the center will be dedicated to showcasing the history and culture of the country and will feature five feather-like solar towers that are as architecturally striking as they are energy-saving.
The five wing-shaped towers protrude from a man-made, landscaped mound that houses the galleries. The towers act as thermal chimneys and draw cooling currents through the museum without any need for electricity. Fresh air is captured and drawn through underground ground-cooling pipes and then released into the museum’s air. Since the towers heat up at the top, air is pulled up vertically through the galleries due to the thermal stack effect, and is then drawn out of the air vents.
The museum is named for UAE founder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and as such Foster + Partners translated his love of falconry into the design, but live birds will also actually be on display in an outdoor arena. Sheikh Zayed’s affection for nature will also be celebrated through a landscaped garden based on a timeline of his life. These areas and the galleries will all make use of the desert’s ample daylighting, which will be maximized using carefully positioned windows and openings.