a 13.8 billion year journey


Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo reveals its design concept for a new Natural History Museum in Abu Dhabi, which the museum claims will feature ‘some of the rarest wonders of natural history ever found.’ Upon the project’s completion, visitors will be invited on a journey through time and space across 13.8-billion-years. The voyage will illuminate a thoughtful vision of a sustainable future for planet Earth.


The project will be located in the emirate’s Saadiyat Cultural District, which is seeking to become one of the world’s leading cultural centers. Currently under construction, the new museum is expected to complete at the end of 2025.

mecanoo abu dhabi museumimages © Mecanoo | @mecanoo_



the geological design by mecanoo


Mecanoo (see more here) designed its Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi to suggest naturally-occurring rock formations, expressing an understanding of the natural world. Every element of the design uses geometry as an overriding theme, with pentagonal shapes resembling cellular structures.


Along with its rocky geometries, water and vegetation are important elements of the architecture, expressing important symbols of life in the desert. The museum will include gallery display areas together with temporary exhibition spaces for special events and theater facilities.

mecanoo abu dhabi museum



a new home for t. rex ‘stan’


A highlight of the new museum’s collection will be the world-famous ‘Stan’, a remarkable, mostly complete 39-foot-long Tyrannosaurus rex, which is one of the best preserved and most studied fossils of this iconic predator from the Late Cretaceous Period. Known by scientists around the world, years of scientific studies of ‘Stan’ have furthered knowledge of countless aspects of T. rex.


Now that ‘Stan’ has a new home at the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi, this 67-million-year-old dinosaur will be in the care of expert scientists, and will continue to contribute to education and research and inspire future explorers.

mecanoo abu dhabi museum



the collection at natural history museum abu dhabi


Together with ‘Stan,’ the Mecanoo-designed Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi will show the extraordinary Murchison Meteorite, which had famously crash-landed in Australia over 40 years ago and has since revealed to scientists new information about the early solar system. Containing a huge range of organic ‘stardust’ compounds as well as pre-solar grains which formed over 7 billion years ago — long before our current solar system existed — the meteorite provides ancient insight into the very building blocks of life.


The museum’s collection will feature numerous significant artifacts as part of its compelling curatorial vision, as well as fascinating experiences being created by a dedicated team in Abu Dhabi, supported by strategic partnerships with world leading scholars and natural history experts.

mecanoo designs the new natural history museum abu dhabi like a natural rock formation


project info:


Project Title: Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi

Architecture: Mecanoo | @mecanoo_

Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Status: Under construction, expected completion end of 2025