Keyboard ALT + g to toggle grid overlay

Museum of the Future highlights innovation in Dubai

AEC Excellence Awards // 2017

Image courtesy of Killa Design

While the interior of many museums look at the past, the Museum of the Future will be everything its name embodies: exhibitions of innovation and incubation of new ideas. The building itself reflects this completely.

Located adjacent to Emirates Towers in Dubai, the $136 million, 30,000-square-meter iconic building will have an instantly recognizable distorted torus shape, epitomized by its futuristic stainless steel façade with illuminated glazed Arabic calligraphy. Seven floors of exhibition space will showcase innovative and futuristic concepts, services, and products for the future of cities, health care, and education along with areas devoted to labs and a 400-seat auditorium.

“The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it. While others try to predict the future, we create it. Museum of the Future will be an integrated environment empowering creative minds to test, fund, and market ideas for futuristic prototypes and services.”


—His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister, UAE and Ruler of Dubai


BIM as a requirement

The futuristic vision and focus on innovation also extends to Museum of the Future’s design and construction. From the very beginning, Dubai Future Foundation required BIM and a fully developed digital workflow across the project lifecycle for BuroHappold Engineering (lead consultant); Killa Design (architect); and BAM Higgs & Hill and Transgulf (contractors).

The design and client teams meet regularly, allowing mark-ups of the current designs to be done by anyone at any time. This shift to agile project delivery replaces the creation of deliverables for milestone meetings. Instead, everyone contributes continuously and moves the project forward based on the most up-to-date information.

Image courtesy of Killa Design

The accessibility of 3D coordination, clash resolution, and decision-making with all stakeholders have made a tremendous impact as well. The handover of models at each stage from stakeholder to stakeholder has ensured that model maturity continues and is developed from design to construction. This is reflected in real time in the progress from the team’s LOD 300 models and the contractor’s LOD 400 models. In addition, areas in the model have been identified where prefabricated MEP modules manufactured off-site can be developed and installed to reduce installation time and labor cost—and it’s only possible due to a high level of confidence in the accuracy and quality of the virtual model.

“There is no project that epitomizes a full-scale digital project delivery more than the extraordinarily complex design of the Museum of the Future. It sets the benchmark for how all projects will be delivered in the future: collaboration, generative design for high-speed design optimizations, and complete construction views. Through technology, this building has been designed as a fully resolved, fully optimized product and represents the future of making buildings.”

—Tobias Bauly, Project Director, BuroHappold Engineering


Image courtesy of BuroHappold Engineering

Generative design at the heart

Design rationalization and generative design are at the center of the iterative analysis process adopted for the optimization of the project's more complex elements.

For example, when it came to the complex steel diagrid geometry, the steel contractors based iterations for the connection design, constructability, element length, angles, and nodes on the required for strength analysis and serviceability requirements. Generative design helped with the creation of bespoke scripts to drive multivariable optimization as well as increased definition and predictability. The diagrid geometry was generated with an in-house parametric script, allowing the team to quickly manipulate and study numerous iterations to accommodate architectural and structural requirements. Scripts were also used to assign the naming convention for the members and nodes as well as generate geometry for drawing production.

Construction savings add up

With construction now underway, the use of QR codes for quality control, safety, and material tracking contribute to a 65 percent reduction in rework on-site. The construction management team and inspectors save substantial time each day with BIM and see a potential 50% improvement in productivity.

Due to the geometric form and complexity of the building, construction risk is mitigated by modeling the temporary framework. Now the main contractor can view construction activities, along with collaboration and coordination for the critical construction challenges. Waste-material levels are reduced and controlled due to spatial coordination prior to construction. And with the optimal design in 3D, the teams experience less design issues during construction, enabling minimal changes overall and on-schedule delivery.

“BIM is the medium, without which, this project would have been impossible,” says Tobias Bauly, project director, BuroHappold Engineering. “From the museum’s incredibly complex design to the actual construction, only BIM could turn this vision for the future into a reality today.”

Made possible by