The Founders Memorial

June 14, 2021
Hamad International Airport Expansion
June 13, 2021

At a Glance

  • LocationAbu Dhabi
  • CountryUAE
  • ClientSalama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation
  • ArchitectRalph Helmick Sculpture
    Stage One Creative Services
  • ServicesCivil & Structural, MEP, Architectural
  • SectorsArts & Culture

The Founder’s Memorial, is a permanent tribute to Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, on the Corniche in Abu Dhabi.

Its centrepiece is the award-winning the Constellation, a monumental artwork that comprises 1,110 vertically suspended steel wire cables of 25m length, set within a 30-metre high pavilion structure, making it one of the largest art installations of its kind in the world, and the first one of this scale to be built outdoors. The sculpture features a total of 1,327 geometric shapes, which align to create a dynamic three-dimensional portrait of Sheik Zayed.

The Memorial also comprises a visitor centre and an elevated curved walkway, providing circular views of the Constellation and gardens. Beneath the walkway, educational and exhibition spaces welcome local schools and community events.



Meinhardt UK was appointed to deliver the project just six months before work was due on-site, having inherited an initial scheme from a previous design team.

Meinhardt delivered construction information for architecture in collaboration with experts from its structural and civil engineering and building services teams and was responsible for the complete supervision of works on site.

Bespoke design processes using parametric modelling and optimisation were developed to integrate the raw data from the Artist model and other parties into a combined 3D model and the analyses used for the coordination and design.


The Founders Memorial was designed by renowned Massachusetts-based artist, Ralph Helmick and delivered in collaboration with specialist artwork contractor, Stage One Creative Services and architect, Meticulous.

The national landmark was awarded first place in the CODA Artistic Design Award 2019