Dezeen Magazine

Timelapse reveals eight-year construction of Louvre Abu Dhabi in just three minutes

A timelapse video from the webcam provider EarthCam reveals the intricate process of constructing the geometric dome of the new Jean Nouvel-designed Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The eight-year construction process is condensed down into just three minutes of video, showing the site going from an empty stretch of island to a 23-gallery museum covered by a 180-metre wide dome.

EarthCam Louvre Abu Dhabi Timelapse

"The Louvre Abu Dhabi is an epic architectural achievement and we are honoured to have been the timelapse technology provider for this iconic project," said Brian Cury, CEO and founder of  EarthCam.

"I'm proud of the work our dedicated team has produced over the past eight years documenting this incredible Jean Nouvel masterpiece."

EarthCam Louvre Abu Dhabi Timelapse

The video cut together 70,000 hours of archived footage taken by 10 MegaPixelCam timelapse cameras placed at 50 different angles across the site throughout the construction process.

The footage shows the groundworks and foundations being laid by teams of cranes, building the gallery spaces and surrounding pools from the inside out before the latticework dome is built over the top.

EarthCam Louvre Abu Dhabi Timelapse

The finished dome is made of 8,000 overlapping metal stars in a geometric pattern. As the time-lapse footage of the interior shows, the sun moving across the sky makes the sunlight dapple through the dome in an effect Nouval described as "a rain of light".

As the building nears completion the pools surrounding and under the dome are flooded with water, so that the structure appears to be surrounded by the sea.

EarthCam Louvre Abu Dhabi Timelapse

Over one million high resolution images were taken over the eight year process. Most were at a resolution of 4K, or 8.3 million pixels but some of the panoramas were as large as a billion pixels.

EarthCam's regional team maintained the cameras and installed them in their strategic locations, and the footage was later put together by their editorial team.

EarthCam Louvre Abu Dhabi Timelapse

The camera systems were designed to withstand the environmental challenges posed by the coastal landscape of the United Arab Emirates capital city, which sits on an island in the Persian Gulf.

The gallery forms a cornerstone of the Saadiyat Cultural District, which will soon include the Foster + Partner-designed Zayed National Museum and a new Guggenheim designed by Frank Gehry, although work on that still hasn't started yet.

Video courtesy of EarthCam.