Four global architectural firms short-listed for UAE's Sheikh Zayed NAtional Museum (UAE)

Four of the world's leading architectural firms from the UK, Canada, Japan and Norway have been short-listed as part of the second stage of the international design competition to select an iconic concept for the planned Sheikh Zayed National Museum in the Cultural District of Saadiyat Island, which lies just 500 meters offshore from the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

The short-listed candidates have been selected from 13 invited entries in a competition conceived by Their Highnesses Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The short-list includes designs by: the UK's Foster & Partners, Norway's Snohetta, Shingeru Ban of Japan and Moriyama & Teshima of Canada.

"In staging this competition we are seeking an architectural design worthy of a tribute to the father of our nation," said HE Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), which manages and develops ADTA's tourism assets.

"In the short-listed designs we have a range of inspirational concepts from which the finalist will fullfil our ambitions. The short-listed candidates have been responsible for some of the most note-worthy architecture of recent times and their competition designs live up to their well-earned reputations."

Foster + Partners Ltd is one of the UK's leading architectural firms, strongly associated with its founder, Norman Foster, now Lord Foster. It has constructed many high profile glass and steel, hi-tech buildings worldwide and is particularly recognised for Singapore's New Supreme Court Building; the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation in Astana, Kazakhstan; New York's Hearst Tower; The Bow in Calgary and Croydon Tower, London.

Snohetta specialises in architectural services for cultural and commercial buildings, parks and gardens, bridges, roads and public spaces. Its notable projects include Alexandria Library in Egypt and the New Opera House in Norway.

Shigeru Ban Architects is the practice of award-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, renowned for his ecological and humanitarian designs. Nominated by Time magazine as a 21st century, innovator in architect and design, Shigeru Ban is the name behind Zurich's celebrated Rietberg Museum, the Mete Centre in Pompidou, France and the New School of Business, American University of Beirut.

Moriyama & Teshima Architects is one of Canada's premier design oriented architectural firms. Its extensive project portfolio spans commercial, institutional and cultural projects in over a dozen countries including The National Museum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Currently, the firm's work ranges from several large-scale projects integrating technology and innovative environments for working and learning with substantial design, to a new 18,000 ft² (approx. 1650 m²) Buddhist temple.

The Sheikh Zayed National Museum is to be a tribute to HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late UAE President, 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 short-listed concepts include designs that reflect Islamic geometries, the natural colours of UAE and all meet the design criteria of environmental efficiency and sustainability, paying tribute to Sheikh Zayed's reputation for greening the desert.

The competition is being judged by an expert panel chaired by Zaki Nusseibeh, adviser to the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs, and it includes: Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of Cornell University's College of Architecture, Art and Planning; Robert A. M. Stern, a practicing architect and Dean of the Yale University School of Architecture; Farshid Moussavi, a practicing architect and Professor In Practice at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design and member of the Agha Khan Architectural Award Steering Committee; Peter Wilson, Director of the Royal Sha

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