Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be located in the Cultural District of Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Designed by internationally renowned architect Frank Gehry, the 450,000-square-foot museum will house its own major modern and contemporary art collection and present special exhibitions that will include works from the Guggenheim Foundation’s extensive collection.
The museum, the largest Guggenheim in the world, will have global art, exhibitions, and education programs with particular focus on Middle Eastern contemporary art. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi joins other leading international cultural institutions in the unprecedented creation of a vibrant cultural destination for visitors from around the world.
The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be a preeminent platform for global contemporary art and culture that will present the most important artistic achievements of our time. Through its permanent collection, exhibitions, scholarly publications and educational programs, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will promote a truly transnational perspective on art history.
The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will move beyond a definition of global art premised on geography by focusing on the interconnected dynamics of local, regional, and international art centers as well as their diverse historical contexts and sources of creative inspiration.
In realizing this endeavor, the museum will acknowledge and celebrate the specific identity derived from the cultural traditions of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates, as well as other countries comprising the Middle East, even as it pioneers a novel, visionary model that will redefine the art-historical canon.
Inside the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi
Visitors will enter the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi through one of the cones, covered on the exterior with panes of blue glass and defined on the interior by a dynamic structure of wooden timbers.
Just off the soaring glass atrium are workshops and a 350-seat theater, where the museum will offer a wide-ranging educational and performing-arts program. The state-of-the-art facility will allow for a wide variety of live events including lectures, panels, symposiums, music recitals, dance and theater productions, film viewings, and performances.
Galleries, many unprecedented in scale, are distributed around the atrium on four levels connected by glass bridges above. The museum features approximately 12,500 square meters of gallery space in the monumental piles of gallery boxes, and 11 iconic cones provide a further 18,000 square meters of exhibition space.
Nine of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s ten blue cones will also be accessible from the atrium and galleries. In each of these cones, the visitor will have the opportunity to view unique, site-specific artworks by leading contemporary artists.
Clad in translucent honey-colored stone, the eleventh cone rests high above the atrium, weaving together the interior and exterior of the building.
Outside the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi
The landmark structure housing the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi was designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, who describes his composition for the building as “intentionally ‘messy,’ moving into clarity.”
The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will have spectacular views of the Saadiyat Cultural District and Arabian Gulf.
Open to the elements, the Guggenheim’s cones recall the region’s ancient wind-towers, which both ventilate and shade the museum’s exterior courtyards in a fitting blend of Arabian tradition and modern design.