The Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi has announced recently that the new Guggenheim Museum in Abu Dhabi will open its gates to public by 2025.
Long delayed, the museum, which is being built by Frank Gehry, will be located on the Saadiyat Cultural District which also includes Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by architect, Jean Nouvel. The museum is a development by DCT Abu Dhabi in collaboration with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and is set to become the most expensive of the Guggenheim Foundation’s portfolio of museums.
The architecture of the museum is inspired by the local vernacular in the region and boasts of signature Gehry’s oeuvre. The design is an experiment in the innovative 21st-century-museum design, presenting new vision for viewing contemporary art in the context of a desert landscape.
“It is truly thrilling to see this project enter into this new phase. I am immensely proud to work closely with our partners, DCT Abu Dhabi and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, to create a home for their ground-breaking cultural program. I hope that this building is embraced by the people of the UAE and that this work will endure as a landmark for the country for many years to come,” said Frank Gehry.
The museum’s internal layout includes multiple galleries of varying heights, shapes and characters, allowing for curatorial flexibility and visitor experience. The architecture incorporates natural cooling and ventilation of covered courtyards, inspired by the concept of traditional wind towers found through the desert region and are an essential way to deal with the extreme heat of the Middle East.
H.E. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, explains, “As we move forward with our plans, it is crucial to recognise the impact of this museum in realising our vision for the Emirates’ culture and creative industries. Investing in these industries is pivotal to the economic development of our Emirates, and to our contribution to the global art world. Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, along with other cultural institutions such as Louvre Abu Dhabi and Zayed National Museum, will undoubtedly contribute significantly to a thriving creative scene.”
Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation stated: “Today’s announcement represents a significant milestone in the realisation of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a landmark new museum. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, housed in Frank Gehry’s distinctive building, will be home to an expansive and evolving collection of artworks that advance multiple perspectives on the global histories of modern and contemporary art, with a particular focus on art from West Asia, North Africa, and South Asia.”
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be part of Abu Dhabi’s growing network of cultural institutions, which includes Louvre Abu Dhabi, New York University, Manarat Al Saadiyat and the Cultural Foundation. Upcoming cultural institutions set to join the Saadiyat Cultural District include Zayed National Museum, dedicated to celebrating the life and achievements of the Founding Father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the Abrahamic Family House, a multi-faith place of worship.