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Museum of modern and contemporary art

Architect: Frank Gehry

The building will be larger than any existing Guggenheim Museum worldwide.
Total area:: 30,000 sqm
Permanent collection galleries: 9,474 sqm
Special exhibition galleries: 3,395 sqm
Education centre: 513 sqm
Others: 16,618 sqm

Key dates:
8 July 2006 - signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Abu Dhabi and the New York-based Guggenheim Foundation to establish a world-class museum devoted to modern and contemporary art, to be called the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (GAD).
It is expected that the museum will be constructed within five years.
13 November 2007 - signature of a framework agreement between the Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) and the Guggenheim Foundation.

The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi's collections and exhibitions will focus on modern and contemporary art since the Second World War. The museum will form its own major collection of contemporary art and will also exhibit masterworks from the Guggenheim Foundation’s global collections.
The museum will include galleries for permanent collections, galleries for special exhibitions, a Department of Architecture and Design, a Center for Art and Technology, children’s education facilities, archives, library and research centre and a state-of-the-art conservation laboratory.

Framework agreement, November 2007
between the Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) and the Guggenheim Foundation, signed on 13 November 2007. Principal elements include:
- formation of a joint administrative and program entity to oversee the creation and management of the new museum;
- establishment of an Abu Dhabi museum staff projected at 250 to 300 persons, including UAE nationals;
- creation of mentorship and training programs of the UAE personnel as an integral feature of the museum and its mission;
- establishment of an acquisition and commissioning program to build a unique and extraordinary modern and contemporary art collection for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi;
- formation of a special committee appointed by the government of Abu Dhabi to implement the collection acquisition and commissioning program jointly recommended by the Guggenheim and the museum operating body;
- development of a visionary special exhibitions program, including exhibitions developed specifically for and shown exclusively in Abu Dhabi and exhibitions of recognized masterpieces, as well as regional artists and trends;
- development and implementation of an educational program for UAE schools and universities;
- establishment of a Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum office in New York City, in quarters on Hudson Street.
(from a press release by the Guggenheim Foundation)

About the concept of architect Frank Gehry:
Inspired by the vernacular architecture of the Gulf region, dramatic conical forms animate the building by paying homage to indigenous wind towers (barjeel) that provide cooling. "In some cases, the conical shapes are used as entry pavilions: a main entrance to the museum, a boat entry to the museum, and then as walkways out into the desert landscape. The use of natural ventilation is inspired by its historical use in the region for many, many generations." Quote from Frank Gehry's design statement.

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Guggenheim Abu Dhabi - © Photo: Haupt & Binder



Saadiyat Cultural District
Information and photos: Louvre Abu Dhabi, Guggenheim and other planned highlights in Abu Dhabi. November 2007


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Nafas / Saadiyat Cultural District / Projects