Construction to Begin on Louvre Abu Dhabi

A rendering of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by Jean Nouvel.

Louvre-ing right along! Following last month’s opening of the SANAA-designed Musée du Louvre-Lens near the French city of Lille comes word that construction will begin immediately on the museum’s Middle East outpost: the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Designed by Jean Nouvel, the museum will consist of a complex of pavilions, plazas, alleyways, and canals that will span 689,000 square feet (approximately 100,000 square feet of that will be exhibition space) of Saadiyat Island and evoke a city floating on the sea.

Dubai-based Arabtec announced today that it has landed the main construction contract for Louvre Abu Dhabi, a deal worth $653 million. According to the megafirm, which has joined forces with Constructora San Jose and Oger Abu Dhabi for the project, the concrete frame should be completed by the first quarter of 2014 and work on the vast perforated dome, inspired by traditional Arab architecture, will be wrapped up by the end of next year. The final stage of the construction–think marine works and the removal of temporary land platforms–is set to be completed in 2015.