Plans for an ambitious cultural district on Saadiyat Island just outside of Abu Dhabi have been put on hold, including a branch of the Louvre by Jean Nouvel and a Guggenheim outpost by Frank Gehry. In January, RECORD's sister publication Engineering News-Record reported that construction had begun on the Louvre and Guggenheim. (A performing arts center designed by Zaha Hadid and a national museum by Foster + Partners are also part of the island's mix.)
But now, according to the AP, the government-run developer, Tourism Development & Investment Co., says the Louvre and Guggenheim won’t hit their targeted opening dates and is pushing them back by at least a year after failing to award a construction contract. They were expected to open by 2014. Gulf News places the delays in the context of a larger real estate and construction meltdown in Abu Dhabi.
Gehry’s office declined to comment to RECORD about the delays, as did the Guggenheim. Roger Howie, a spokesperson for Hadid’s office, offered the following:
"The Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre is one of the cultural projects in Phase Two of the construction on Saadiyat Island. It will be accompanied by infrastructure and a wider residential/commercial programme. Construction of projects in Phase Two is expected to begin when the client's project management resources currently focusing on Phase One become available."
Rendering courtesy of TDIC