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Guggenheim Abu Dhabi by Frank Gehry

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Photos/Text by Stephan Luecke. Copyright by desMena.

Frank Gehry‘s design for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island – the “Island of Happiness”.

Frank Gehry is designing the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi – a contemporary art museum, which will be the only one of its kind in the Middle East.
Gehry’s concept for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum will make it the world’s largest Guggenheim museum, with a total area of 320,000 square feet, and approximately 130,000 square feet exhibition space featuring permanent collections, galleries for special exhibitions, an art and technology centre, a children’s art education facility, archives, library & research centre and a conservation laboratory.
Frank Gehry’s has been working with the Guggenheim Foundation since he’d been commissioned with the design for Guggenheim Bilbao (Bilbao, Spain, 1991-97).
Announcing the project in January 2007 the architect stated:
“Approaching the design of the museum for Abu Dhabi made it possible to consider options for design of a building that would not be possible in the United States or in Europe,”
“It was clear from the beginning that this had to be a new invention. The landscape, the opportunity, the requirement, to build something that people all over the world would come to and the possible resource to accomplish it opened tracks that were not likely to be considered anywhere else. The site itself, virtually on the water or close to the water on all sides, in a desert landscape with the beautiful sea and the light quality of the place suggested some of the direction.” Reflecting about the design Gehry explained: “We started with a very basic plan organization. The centre core galleries were laid out forming a courtyard. Those galleries were of various heights and sizes, and placed one on top of another to create four floors. These galleries will be more classic contemporary galleries, completely air-conditioned, with skylights where possible, and a sophisticated lighting system. The next ring of galleries surrounding that core then radiating out of the centre will be larger galleries in a variety of shapes and less formally constructed. The third ring is for larger galleries, built more like raw industrial space with exposed lighting and systems. They would be less finished. These galleries would be attractive as spawning homes for a new scale of contemporary art – art that would be, perhaps made on-site and would be of a scale that could not be achieved in other museums around the world.”
The design predominantly consists of stone-clad conical shaped tubes and simple cubes and will facilitate the buildings to ease the boiling summer heat in the courtyards using water walls that will provide natural cooling for the external spaces.

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2 comments to Guggenheim Abu Dhabi by Frank Gehry

  • mariam ismail

    The design is bizarre. I cannot imagine how would the gallery look like or what would be the feel of the outdoor experience

  • Eytan Fichman

    Nice to see the process steps so clearly laid out – instructive in terms of how the blocking of functional relationships seems to be worked out 3-dimensionally and then is sometimes draped, sometimes interpenetrated by the spaces between blocks or masses of blocks . . . all presumably orchestrated by the sketching process Gehry keeps going in parallel that maybe helps give overall coherence and flow to what looks at times like a jumble of blocks . . .

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