Tuesday, September 1, 2009
A new Louvre in Abu Dhabi
from the article,
Just off the coast of Abu Dhabi is a small, sandy atoll. Surrounded by clear turquoise water, turtles and porpoises, this flat, barren little island was once home to nothing more than weekend campers, boat parties and water-skiers. But Saadiyat – which means “island of happiness” – is adjacent to the world’s richest city, and is being given a $27billion makeover in a bid to recast Abu Dhabi as a cultural mecca.
By 2013, the capital of the United Arab Emirates will boast an offshoot of the Louvre, a new Guggenheim museum, a National Museum inspired by the British Museum, a performing arts centre designed by the British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, several art schools, and various pavilions and other cultural franchises that will be able to host temporary exhibitions from around the world. A 10-lane bridge will bring millions of visitors to this meticulously planned development. More than 40million people travel through the UAE each year; there is a market to be seized.
Saadiyat’s developers hope to usher in a new era of Islamic openness. “The region has been a crossroads for centuries,” says Rita Aoun, director of culture at Tourist Development and Investment Company (TDIC), the corporation behind the frenzy of development on Saadiyat. “Abu Dhabi wants to become a modern bridge between East and West.”
Aware of the cachet that comes with star names, Abu Dhabi’s leaders have recruited the most celebrated architects in the world to build the museums – and to provide kudos that an oil outpost in a notoriously unstable region could not otherwise obtain. Frank Gehry is designing the Guggenheim. His ambitious 450,000sq ft structure – far larger than his museum in Bilbao – is based around a haphazard arrangement of blocks, perched one above the other, and wrapped around a courtyard flanking the cavernous gallery spaces.
Pritzker prize-winner Jean Nouvel is the architect behind the new outpost of the Louvre; his pavilions, plazas and canals conjure an image of a floating city, topped by a vast Islamic dome that should diffuse the intense desert light
Art The Museum Has Purchased: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/6082816/Louvre-Abu-Dhabi-works-bought.html
Posted by Chris Mansel at 4:20 AM