Floating Water Museum

Date: 2009 – 2020
Dubai (UAE)
Project: Giancarlo Zema Design Group
Client: Private Group
Consultants: Sarti Engineering
Status: Ongoing

An enormous drop appears to splash out of the water where it forms softly gleaming transparence and intriguing reflections. This is Drop – Dubai Water Canal Museum, designed by the Italian architect Giancarlo Zema, the first floating multipurpose cultural center dedicated to the genesis of the Water Canal in Dubai. The Museum combines the focus on the latest frontiers of technology and design with the pleasure of contemplating nature’s beauty with a totally new perspective, from the water. Water, meant as a metaphor for creative thinking of the enlightened mind and its ability to change the world through a fluid flow and circulation of ideas. This is the vision behind the Drop project, in perfect harmony with the theme of EXPO 2020 Dubai. A floating circular platform with stretches of water and green areas supports the winding 32 meters diameter steel structure (in reference to the 3.2 km length of the canal) and provides a continual interplay between interior and exterior due its transparent surface. In full view of the spectacular surrounding scenery, two totally suspended floors host exhibitions, meetings and catering activities, making full use of its great flexibility in meeting the different demands of different organizational needs. Green areas also provide oxygen and lovely color effects for visitors. The various levels are connected vertically by a spiral staircase whose thinly water-coated core houses local and technical services. The external surface provides charming visual effects through the use of electrochromatic smart glass which can also modify its opacity according to the degree of external insolation, as well as checking on UV ray penetration in order to regulate the internal temperature. A fully integrated RGB LED controller system creates fascinating color variations in line with the features of the surrounding area and any events underway. During the summer, natural microventilation is assured by means of a chimney effect through small openings in the lower part of the drop which allow fresh air to enter which then exits by means of openings located at the top of the crown. Amorphous photovoltaic panels capture the sun’s rays and produce electricity according to the demands of the various internal functions. A floating walkway and stunning light effects on the water complete the visual appeal of the technological drop.