Innovative building for the visions of the future

Impressive architecture at Museum of the Future in Dubai thanks to complex and modern design

Data & Facts

  • Project
    • Museum of the Future, Dubai, UAE
  • Architects
    • Killa Design
  • Principal
    • Dubai Future Foundation
  • Development Manager
    • North 25
  • Construction company
    • BAM Higgs & Hill LLC, Dubai
  • MEVA systems
  • Engineering and support
    • MEVA-KHK Formwork, Systems FZCO, Dubai, UAE

Reference for innovative ­construction

Round, straight, labyrinthine and curved – the architecture of the Museum of the Future is exceptional, thus making the planning and implementation especially challenging. The museum with an oval torus is often referred to as one of the most complex buildings in the world. While many structures repeat themselves even when erecting spectacular high-rise buildings, this construction site is dominated by varying geometries both above and below ground.

In order to produce the numerous details correctly, the construction company responsible, BAM Higgs & Hill LLC, availed itself of the advantages of Building Information Modelling (BIM). Three-dimensional depictions of the various construction phases and networked communication thus facilitated the planning work. “For us as the main formwork supplier, the precise 3D model proved to be a huge advantage, enabling us to efficiently plan the formwork system,” explained ­MEVA-KHK engineer Sam Thomas.

Labyrinthine basement
The labyrinthine basement of the Museum of the Future is smaller than the floors above and has no round walls or sloping ceilings. Using the 3.50 m high panels of the Mammut 350 wall formwork system, it was possible to form the walls with extreme precision. The rate of placing was immaterial thanks to the fresh-concrete pressure capacity of 100 kN/m². It was thus possible to pour the walls quickly, irrespective of the concrete recipe and consistency, the weather conditions and the ambient temperature. After stripping, the outer walls of the basement were supported by Triplex R props to ensure they were secure while filling in the working area.

Simple handling of large formwork panels
When the Museum opens, the exhibits will be mainly displayed on the building’s first three floors, which are each split into two areas by a curved central aisle. The use of Radius circular formwork allowed these walls to be formed precisely to the nearest millimetre. The elastically deformable, 6 mm thick steel facing could be bent to suit the shape of the building above a radius of 250 cm. The 7-metre high walls in the entrance hall were completed after only two cycles using 3.50-metre high formwork panels. No additional auxiliary equipment was required to connect the circular formwork to the Mammut 350 panels. Assembly locks connect the two systems both positively and non-positively. Furthermore, it was possible to produce acute angles (see photo) by creating a connection using a filler and Uni-assembly locks. “MEVA formwork is easy to use, which is, of course, a huge advantage,” praised the construction manager responsible at BAM, Seamus O’Sullivan.

Minimized compensation areas
Despite the curves and various angles of this modern architecture, it was also possible to adapt the slab formwork system MevaDec to suit the building’s geometry. Primary and secondary beams can be used irrespective of the grid pattern, which minimizes compensation areas. “We found the good concrete results achieved with ­MevaDec particularly striking,” emphasised Seamus O’Sullivan. Furthermore, the patented MevaDec drop head allows early stripping, thus contributing to a reduction of the material stocks and ensuring rapid construction progress. In some areas of the building the floors are connected by sloped slabs. MEVA planned these areas in advance, and calculations were performed in order to produce a simple solution using the MevaFlex slab formwork. The 30 cm thick slabs of the third floor are also slightly sloped and, in addition, are to be covered with grass. This creates a hill covering the first three upper floors.
Guided climbing under exceptional circumstances
Above this grassed-over area the steel construction shaped like an oval torus rises up to form the eye-catcher of the new Museum. The building core is being formed using MEVA’s MGC climbing system and Mammut 350 formwork with cycle heights of 3.50 m. The MGC system was first preassembled on the ground to save time and then attached to the building with guiding profiles. It will remain here – securely anchored – during the entire construction and lifting phase. “In this project one challenge was adding irregularly spaced box-outs, as the heights of the storeys vary and have to be taken into consideration during the climbing process,” explained Sam Thomas.

Reference for innovative ­construction
When it is finished in 2019, the impressive building is intended to serve as an innovative platform for startups and large technology companies so that they can test and present their latest developments. Due to the planning tools and formwork systems used, it is already a showcase project for innovative construction.