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How the Museum of the Future is stretching the limits of structural engineering

Tekla Structures model and artist's impression of Museum of the Future

On track to open in 2019, the iconic Museum of the Future will serve as an exhibition space for innovative and futuristic concepts, services and products. Space will also include science labs, restaurants and an auditorium. The impressive project by steel fabricator Eversendai L.L.C. cleaned up the table in 2018's Tekla Global BIM Awards. The project won the title of Best Public Category project, the Best BIM Project and the Online Voting. 


Project scope

Eversendai oversaw the project’s BIM implementation and coordination, connection design, shop drawings, erection engineering study and stage analysis, workshop fabrication drawings, supply, fabrication and erection of structural steel works. With the power of BIM, Eversendai were able to successfully handle all of these responsibilities efficiently, accurately and on time.

Tekla Structures model showing complex steel structure connections

The challenge of complex geometry

The Museum of the Future is one of the world’s most complex construction projects. A concrete structure from the basement to the top supports a steel diagrid structure up to Level 7, with composite concrete floor slabs. This design approach allows a column-free interior space but requires a number of different and uniquely challenging elements within the building's steelwork.

The Museum of the Future stretches structural engineering to its limits and shows what Tekla is capable of doing. It appears that Tekla is the only program available anywhere, that could possibly complete the museum intact and have the kind of detailing and tolerances that are needed in order to construct such an elaborate building.

Elbert O. Speidel, A.I.A. professor at California Polytechnic State University

Fabrication of complex steel connection in workshop

Eversendai faced the challenge of designing the structure’s complex connections based on tabulated data issued by the design team. Given the sheer complexity of the design, the team had 12 structural models in total, for which they created envelope cases for the connection loads. This meant an enormous amount of data and load combinations needed to be considered during the connection design phase. The data were analysed in a number of configurations, using FEM design to determine whether or not stiffeners were required, as well as the sequence for the welding of the nodes in order to transfer the forces. In the end, the connections were designed without punch plates to look like garlands of jasmine.

Interior view of the Tekla Structures model looking along floor with curved exterior structure above

What’s more, the podium link bridge not only needed to be able to restrain the top of the double helix feature stair, but it needed to be able to be fabricated. Transportation and site restrictions due to the busy site location, as well as lift capacities that required welded site splices, added to the challenge. 

View from above of Museum of the Future under construction

BIM was crucial in identifying and resolving clashes

Due to the Museum of the Future’s complex geometry and precise interface requirements with various trades, BIM implementation was vital. Eversendai was able to successfully complete the structure by using Tekla software to design, fabricate, and coordinate processes. They used Tekla BIMsight extensively to identify clashes with other trades, such as roofing, facade, MEP and RCC contractors and were able to resolve the clashes in the design phase itself.

Architectural model with concrete footing

Tekla Structures is a potent tool behind the success of our Museum of Future Project due to its powerful 3D modelling capabilities and flexibility to open API options that gave us a large scope to explore and develop routines to do modelling and detailing accurately in a relatively short time with a high degree of precision. Considering the complex geometry as well as the intricate shape of the structure and also provision of multi-staged construction pre-set requirements of CMES Analysis, Tekla Structures had played a vital role in concluding the Engineering and Detailing activities within the project deadlines.

The BIM management with Tekla software boosted the project’s efficiency, accuracy and time management. Tekla BIMsight was also extensively used to identify the clashes with other trades, which allowed us to effectively deal with the problems before the fabrication stage, that saved us a substantial amount of time and resources.  - Sreenivasa Rao Vipparla, General Manager | Design & Engineering – ME, UK & CIS at Eversendai Engineering L.L.C

Eversendai's project responsibilites:

  • BIM implementation and coordination
  • Connection design
  • Shop drawings
  • Erection engineering study and stage analysis
  • Workshop fabrication drawings
  • Supply, fabrication and erection of structural steel works

Full Tekla Structures model view of Museum of the Future

Project parties

  • Project Client: Dubai Future foundation & Employers representative MERAAS
  • Architect: Killa Design
  • Structural Engineer: BuroHappold
  • Cost Consultant: AECOM
  • Main Contractor: BAM HIGGS & HILL
  • Steel Fabricator: Eversendai L.L.C.


Learn more about Tekla Structures!