Posts tagged with "Saadiyat Island":

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Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi opens to the public after a decade

After more than four years of construction, Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi will finally open to the public on November 11. Images of the ambitious project, spanned by a 262-foot latticed, double-skinned dome, have been released for the first time ahead of the full opening. Joining Frank Gehry’s troubled Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and museum projects by Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando and other big name studios, Nouvel’s Louvre is the first completed building on the Saadiyat Island Cultural District. The French architect expressed hope that the museum, sited on the wetland island’s coast, would pay respect to the surrounding environment as well as the cultural history of both France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). “The Louvre Abu Dhabi becomes the final destination of an urban promenade, a garden on the coast, a cool haven, a shelter of light during the day and evening, its aesthetic consistent with its role as a sanctuary for the most precious works of art,” said Nouvel. Referencing Arab architectural traditions, the project’s radiating dome is composed of nearly 8,000 interlocking metal octagons layered over each other to form a perforated shading system. Shading visitors during the day and shining from below at night, Nouvel called the roof “an oasis of light.” Protected from the elements, the public spaces below will host a rotating selection of pieces specifically commissioned for the museum. Layering patterned partitions is nothing new for Nouvel, whose Burj Doha in Qatar similarly took advantage of the mashrabiya, an Islamic screen designed to keep occupants cool during the summer months. The galleries themselves are a collection of squat, white cubic volumes with ceiling heights that vary from room to room and an irregularly-spaced paneling design that permeates inside to the display areas. This “museum city” totals 23 gallery spaces across 6,400 square meters (21,000 square feet), as well as a children’s museum, auditorium, restaurant and merchandise shops. The floor tiling calls back to Ottoman-era mosaic design, including a “stone carpet” in one of the gallery spaces. The museum's first exhibition, From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone, will open on December 21st and display 18th century artwork from the opening of the original Musée du Louvre in Paris alongside modern pieces.
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Is the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi dead?

  In a podcast posted on March 21, former Director of the Guggenheim Foundation, Thomas Krens, cast doubt on the near-future hopes of building the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a project he helped set into motion in 2006. The museum, designed by Frank Gehry, was originally scheduled to open in 2012 and would be the largest branch of the Guggenheim to date. The project was one of several cultural institutions designed by the likes of Foster and Partners, Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, and Tadao Ando as part of a larger plan for Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Construction of the Guggenheim has been delayed several times and, as of 2017, only Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi is near completion. In his podcast interview with In Other Words, produced by the art advisory firm Art Agency Partners, Krens states that he believes these delays are intentional to help the city gauge the reaction of locals to the new development. Because the plans for this new cultural hub were drawn up in more “naïve” times, Krens thinks this type of development is just something that can’t happen in the current climate. “The world financial crisis and the Arab Spring has changed the equation radically,” said Krens in the interview. “It may not be such a good idea these days to have an American museum…with a Jewish name in a country [that doesn’t recognize Israel] in such a prominent location, at such a big scale.” The potential for the museum to be seen as a target for terrorism was a fear that the Guggenheim team addressed from the beginning of the project, and something Krens views as more worrisome now. “If I were them [Abu Dhabi local authorities], I would say we’re not abandoning our mission… to building these institutions, but we don’t need all five of them up and running at the same time,” said Krens in the interview. He also alludes that perhaps, in the future, there may be a better opportunity for the development and for further “cooperation and coordination.” For now, it seems the project is still on hold, although not without hope. In a statement to The Art Newspaper, a representative from the Guggenheim reiterated their support for the project and their continued work to make it happen: “The Guggenheim Foundation remains committed to the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and its transformative potential as a catalyst for exchange and for expanding the narratives of art history.” To find more information about the Saadiyat Island development, you can visit their website here. UPDATE 4/4/2017: The Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority has provided this comment:
Abu Dhabi remains committed to developing an innovative cultural destination on Saadiyat Island for Abu Dhabi's residents and visitors. Louvre Abu Dhabi is set to open this year, and together with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, we are unquestionably progressing with the development of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The programme and collection of the Museum have been progressing for the past years and we have recently launched The Creative Act: Performance, Process, Presence, the second exhibition of artworks from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection. Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority is continuing the development of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi's curatorial narrative, collection and educational outreach with the expertise of the curatorial team to bring this museum to life.
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Video> Frank Gehry on his eccentric Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum

Up-and-coming architect Frank Gehry recently sat down with the New York Times to discuss his  Guggenheim museum under construction on Saadiyat Island near Abu Dhabi. The eccentric or idiosyncratic or whimsical structure totals 450,000 square feet, making it 12 times larger than the Guggenheim in New York. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi  is defined by multiple cones that Gehry says were influenced by teepees because of how they remove hot air. The design is also supposed to evoke the domes of mosques around the Middle East. Although that's a bit harder to discern. On Saadiyat Island, Gehry's museum will be joined by other lavish projects from Zaha Hadid, Rafael Viñoly, Tadao Ando, and Jean Nouvel. These architects, and their clients, have faced scrutiny for the notoriously bad labor conditions in the region. But back in September, Gehry addressed these concerns in an interview with Architectural Record. In a statement, the architect's firm said, “Gehry Partners has been engaged in a substantial and on-going dialogue over many years now that has involved government, the construction industry, architects, project, sponsors and NGOs." Record added, "Gehry may be the first prominent architect to take steps towards labor reform on Saadiyat Island." If you like, give the video a look, but be warned there's a lot of self congratulations and opining on world affairs.

Eavesdrop NY 11

Meier In A Box Pin-Up: Magazine for Architectural Entertainment features Richard Meier in its Summer 2009 issue. Turns out “architectural entertainment” is not an oxymoron after all, at least not at Pin-Up. Meier poses on the cover with the box containing his $1,800 limited-edition lifetime opus from Taschen. Box placement and the architect’s sheepish grin remind us of that infamous Justin Timberlake/ Andy Samberg SNL video skit. You know the one. It’s that musical DIY about how to create an extremely personal boxed gift. Coincidence, or is Pin-Up just living up to its tagline? Buy the issue and tell us what you think. Buy it now. Asymptote’s Buildable Blob Eavesdrop loved the “Build It Bigger” episode on Discovery’s Science Channel featuring the Asymptote-designed Yas Marina Hotel under construction in Abu Dhabi, which aired on June 1. Granted, every project in the UAE is the biggest, best, only, and first, but the Yas Hotel is truly an amazing grid-shell-veiled, buildable blob. Besides the building, the project’s second-most glamorous feature is the Formula One Grand Prix raceway over which the hotel spans with extraordinary finesse. The show revealed the complexity of both design and engineering and the effort required to fast-track it into existence. As the signature component of the $36 billion Yas Marina development, it must open its doors by October, making the raceway a literal reminder of the overall need for speed. Sidebar: Architects typically enjoy all the credit in the press, but Eavesdrop insists on credit where credit’s due. Introducing the engineers: Arup, Dewan, Tilke, Schlaich Bergermann und Partner, Waagner-Biro, Centraal Staal, Red, Taw, and Front, Inc. Shocked About Saadiyat Speaking of speed, the program’s host, Danny Forster, casually mentioned that 50,000 workers are needed to maintain warp-speed construction for the entire region’s multibillion-dollar developments. Now, that head count is big news: An 80-page report issued by the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) claims “abuse and severe exploitation” of thousands of laborers at projects throughout the UAE, particularly those on Saadiyat Island (cue eye-rolling: Saadiyat is Arabic for “happiness”). HRW sent letters outlining the violations to Jean Nouvel, Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando, and other architects who are building island happiness. The recipients issued instant denunciations: We’re shocked! Who could’ve imagined that tens of thousands of migrant workers from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan could be vulnerable to exploitation? Here at Eavesdrop, we’re 100 percent not for it. Send peace and strong labor laws to eavesdrop@archpaper.com