Department of Culture & Tourism - Abu Dhabi awarded the contract for the museum, which is located on Saadiyat Island and borders on the Arabian Gulf on three sides. It will be the largest of the four Guggenheim museums – the others are in New York, Venice and Bilbao.
The joint venture contract 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 aluminium. Construction is set to be completed in 2025.
The architecture of the building is the work of the award-winning architect Frank Gehry. It features a series of asymmetrical cones that will surround the main building and serve as both entrances to the museum and outdoor exhibition spaces.
The design also incorporates sustainable elements appropriate to the region, including natural cooling and ventilation of the covered courtyards, inspired by the concept of traditional wind towers found throughout the Middle East.
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be part of the Saadiyat Cultural District, an emerging global cultural centre with a concentration of museums, galleries and performance venues.
In collaboration with the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation, the museum will present a collection from around the world (including art since circa 1960) with a specific focus on West Asia, North Africa, and South Asia. The museum is also intended to serve as a forum for academic research and intellectual and cultural dialogue.
Pierre Sironval, deputy CEO of Besix Group, said: “We are extremely proud to build the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a museum of global modern and contemporary art that will further enhance the appeal of Abu Dhabi as a destination. The museum joins Besix Group's previous achievements in Abu Dhabi, including Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Emirates Palace and the Sheikh Zayed Bridge. We have also had the honour of constructing the Dancing House, designed by Frank Gehry, in Prague.”
Olivier Crasson, General Manager of Besix-Six Construct: “I would like to thank our client, the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, for its confidence. This is a particularly complex yet very sustainable building, which will benefit from our engineering and construction expertise. Together with Trojan, a high-quality partner, we will make the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi a great success for our client and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.”