Foster + Partners wins Sheikh Zayed National Museum international design competition (UAE/UK)

Foster + Partners Ltd, one of the UK's leading architectural firms which is strongly associated with its Pritzker Architecture Prize winning founder, Lord Norman Foster, has been declared the winner of the international design competition staged to find an inspiring concept for the planned Sheikh Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

The cultural district in Abu Dhabi.

This selection culminates a seven month competition process which was organized under a two stage, anonymous submission format.

The winning concept was selected from four short listed submissions invited to proceed to the second presentation stage.

The museum will honour the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the former UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi who played an instrumental role in the formation of the UAE Federation and was a highly respected international statesman and award-winning environmental pioneer. The Sheikh Zayed National Museum is to be built within the Cultural District of Saadiyat Island – a natural island which lies just 500 meters offshore the UAE's capital city.

Foster + Partners' concept was judged to have best met the requirements of the competition brief to deliver a unique and defining public monument for the founder of the nation and a national museum for Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

"We will now begin discussions with Foster + Partners to develop the design of this important national asset," said His Excellency Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and of Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC). "There will be further dialogue as we move into a working phase of close engagement between the architects and stakeholders culminating in a final design."

While in Abu Dhabi to present the Foster + Partners concept Lord Norman Foster spoke of the need to deliver a building symbolic of the character and mission of the late Sheikh Zayed.

"A visitor needs to find this an oasis – an area of calm in a bustling part of the Cultural District. The project calls for more than a museum, rather for a national monument to values which will evoke an element of contemplation and knowledge absorption and which, by definition, would therefore have a greater spiritual element than the other projects in the district," he said.

The international design competition jury was chaired by Zaki Nusseibeh, Adviser to the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs. The jury also included: Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of Cornell University's College of Architecture, Art and Planning;

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