Guggenheim Abu Dhabi ... designed by Frank Gehry.

THE Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT – Abu Dhabi) has announced that a contract worth $1 billion has been awarded for the development of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a Frank Gehry-designed museum being developed at Saadiyat Island.

 The landmark monument, which is coming up on a 30,000-sq-m area, will be the largest instalment in the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation’s international group of museums, which includes one in New York designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, at Bilbao designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection housed in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni in Venice.

Six Construct, a subsidiary of leading Belgian construction company Besix, said its joint venture with UAE-based Trojan General Contracting has won the deal to build the landmark Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum.

 Six Construct’s scope of work includes all construction work, except for the foundations, which have already been completed.

The building is made of various materials, including steel, concrete, wood and aluminum. The construction process has been carefully prepared by the joint venture partners to optimise planning, methods and procurement. Work is set to be completed in 2025.

  Abu Dhabi has earmarked a total of $6 billion for the cultural and creative industries over the next five years.

 Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be the region’s pre-eminent museum dedicated to global modern and contemporary art and programming. It will be another addition to the Saadiyat cultural complex on an island off downtown Abu Dhabi, where the Louvre opened a branch in 2017 and the Abrahamic Family House, an interfaith facility comprising a mosque, church and synagogue, is under construction.

 It is a part of a larger complex of arts and cultural institutions on Saadiyat Island with its gallery spaces spread across four levels linked by glass bridges, with a central atrium at its core. The project is on track for 2025 completion.

 Confirming the project completion date, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “Guggenheim Abu Dhabi advances Abu Dhabi’s position as a dynamic centre for arts and culture. The region’s pre-eminent museum of global modern and contemporary art, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will present an equitable platform for art from all over the world.

 “The museum will also play a civic role through its mission to spark wider interest in global modern and contemporary art, fostering diversity and inclusion in a meaningful cultural exchange. As we move forward with our plans, it is crucial to recognise the impact of this museum in realising our vision for the emirate’s culture and creative industries.”

Gehry said: “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 programme. 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.”