Plans Unveiled For Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Designed by Architect Frank Gehry

  • 18 Nov '21
  • 11:10 am by Nuriyah Johar

The highly anticipated Guggenheim museum in Abu Dhabi designed by architect Frank Gehry is slated to open in 2025, plans of which were revealed recently. The museum will be located on the prominent western-facinq tip of the Saadiyat Cultural District, on Saadiyat Island to the east of Abu Dhabi City. Set to span across a gross floor area of 80,000 square metres, Guggehmiem Abu Dhabi will be situated on a landmass extending into the Gulf and connected to the mainland via a promenade that acts as the museum’s entry plaza. Plans include 28 galleries spreading over 11,600 square metres along with an additional 25,000 square meters of exterior exhibition spaces in the cones and terraces circling the building. In addition, the museum will house art education facilities, a 230-seat multi-purpose theatre, and a conservation laboratory amongst other public areas. This will be the forth museum under the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation umbrella. “It is truly thrilling to see this project enter into this new phase,” said Gehry. “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.”

Designed to redefine the traditional visitor experience, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will bring forth a newfangled vision for viewing modern and contemporary art. The structure’s division into three vertical gallery clusters allows for flexibility with respect to the curatorial display, while also enabling visitors to experience the exhibitions in a manner that is ever-changing. Spanning four levels, the galleries are clustered around a central enclosed atrium, connected by glass and steel walkways that create an overarching courtyard-like experience. Gehry’s plan for the museum takes inspiration from the traditional architecture of the Gulf region that is informed by dramatic conical forms. These conical elements serve as a series of transitional spaces between interior and exterior, functioning variously as a theatrical entrance canopy, a soaring atrium, and a number of tempered spaces that link the museum’s gallery clusters. Keeping environmental considerations in mind, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be an energy-efficient building with high-efficiency cooling, air filtration and lighting systems.

The museum aims to reflect the Emirate’s vision as a cultural leader in the region while playing a civic role through its mission to spark wider interest and awareness of art.