A Landmark Museum in Dubai Forecasts the Future

The Museum of the Future, which recently opened near the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, is carving out a vision for tomorrow’s ideals of wellness, environmentalism, technology, and travel.

The Museum of the Future. Photography courtesy of the Dubai Future Foundation

Museums often provide an invaluable look inside the traditions, culture, and fine art of the past and present, but Dubai’s newly opened Museum of the Future is a one-way ticket to the times ahead. A brainchild of the Dubai Future Foundation, the museum will feature programming focused on the next frontier of space travel, climate change, wellness, and spirituality, with a focus on emergent technologies and immersive experiences. 

“We’re focused on the human story of the future,” Lath Carlson, the museum’s executive director, told the BBC. “We’re looking at the big challenges that are going to be facing humanity, and the creative solutions that people might deploy to overcome them.” Three floors, for example, will resemble a film set that visitors can freely explore and inhabit; one digitally recreates the Amazon rainforest while another tasks children to solve problems to become “future heroes.” 

On-theme, local firm Killa Design delivered a building that appears straight out of a science fiction movie. The torus-shaped structure, which clocks in at 250 feet tall, features a giant void in the middle and is emblazoned with windows that take the form of inspirational quotes about the future by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Arabic calligraphy. (“We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity can leave a legacy long after we’re gone,” reads one.) Thanks to the structure’s distinctive shape and engineering expertise from British firm Buro Happold, its soaring, light-filled interiors are completely column-free. Even in a city whose identity is synonymous with futuristic attractions—man-made islands in the shape of palm trees, gleaming architectural marvels like Burj Khalifa and The Opus—this newcomer is a remarkable achievement.

The Museum of the Future. Photography courtesy of the Dubai Future Foundation
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