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Saadiyat Island Cultural District

Wednesday 16 January 2019 (UAE)   

Saadiyat Island Cultural District

Saadiyat Island Cultural District and Museums information and guide. The area includes the Abu Dhabi Guggenheim, Louvre, Maritime Museum, Performing Arts Center, Sheikh Zayed National Museum with designs commissioned by the Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) of Abu Dhabi. Opening dates were scheduled to be from 2013-2014 but a statement issued by TDIC on 29 October 2011 said they would be delayed (new dates not supplied).

  • The Saadiyat Island Cultural District is one of several areas of Saadiyat Island, and the first to be developed.
  • The master plan for the Saadiyat Island Cultural District was developed by architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).
  • The district will have a focus on arts and culture but also contain residential and commercial buildings, and the Saadiyat Island NYU campus.
  • Other components of the Cultural District will include a Biennale Park, international pavilions, a 1.5 km long canal.
  • Apart from NYUAD, the Cultural District plans to have more graduate schools with a focus on arts, architecture, music, and drama.
  • Yale University was reportedly in talks with the Saadiyat Island developer about setting up an arts institute near the Performing Arts Center, covering art, architecture, music and drama (NY Times 01 February 2007).
  • Cultural District total area is about 670 acres.
  • Cranleigh School Abu Dhabi - a new boarding school (UK curriculum), planned opening date in September 2014.
Saadiyat Island Cultural District exhibition
  • An exhibition of the Saadiyat Island Cultural District can be seen at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, and is well worth a trip. Opened in 2007? No entry fee, open 1000-2200 (10am to 10pm) daily. Might be closed Mondays.
  • Another more comprehensive exhibition, called Manarat Al Saadiyat, of the whole Saadiyat Island project opened in the Cultural District in 2009, and is also well worth a visit.
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi
  • Designed by Frank Gehry.
  • Total area of 320,000 square feet with about 130,000 sq ft of exhibition space, making it the largest Guggenheim museum in the world when completed.
  • Exhibition areas will include permanent collections, special exhibition galleries, art and technology center, a children's art education center, library and research centre, a conservation laboratory, and archives area.
  • New opening date will be in 2017 (WAM news 25 January 2012).
International Pavilions
  • As of January 2007, 19 international pavilions were planned for the Cultural District.
  • Pavilion designers and architects include David Adjaye (UK), Greg Lynn (USA), Hani Rashid (USA), Khalid Alnajjar (UAE), Pei-Zhu (China), Seung H-Sang (Korea), Yuri Avvakumov (Russia).
Louvre Abu Dhabi

Designed by Jean Nouvel of France. The museum will have 9,200 square metres of art galleries including a 6,681 sq m Permanent Exhibition Gallery with art works from different civilisations through history, and a 2,364 sq m Temporary Exhibition Gallery. New opening date will be in 2015 (WAM news 25 Jan 2012).

  • 13 Mar 2014 (WAM) - 160 pieces of the Abu Dhabi Louvre's permanent collection will be displayed at the Musée du Louvre in Paris at the Napoleon Hall from 02 May to 28 July 2014 as an exhibition called "Birth of a Museum". Items on display include ancient and contemporary artworks:
    • a standing Bactrian Princess from the end of the 3rd millennium BCE
    • a Middle-Eastern gold bracelet with a lion's head about 3000 years old
    • an Oman Hemdy Bey painting - "A Young Emir Studying" from 1878
    • a Paul Gauguin painting - "Children Wrestling" from 1888
    • Piet Mondrian item from the former Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Berge Collection
    • an Alexander Calder painting
    • a series of 9 canvases by Cy Twombly
  • 12 Dec 2013 - First segment of the Louvre Abu Dhabi dome placed on-site. Dome diameter is 180 meters, construction consists of 10,800 square steel tubes in 85 segments. Museum is being construction on a temporary platform kept dry by 14 meter deep concrete walls which will be removed when the building is complete, allowing sea water to flow in and give the illusion that the museum is floating on the sea.
Maritime Museum Abu Dhabi
  • Designer is Tadao Ando of Japan
Palazzo Italia Cultural Center
  • An Italian cultural center is planned for Saadiyat Island, possibly located near the Guggenheim and Louvre museums.
  • An Italian school is also planned. Further details not supplied.
Performing Arts Center Abu Dhabi
  • Designed by Zaha Hadid.
  • Building is 62 meters high and the plans are for it to have 5 theaters - a music hall, concert hall, opera house, drama theatre and a flexible theatre.
  • Total seating capacity of about 6,300.
  • The center might also have an Academy of Performing Arts.
Sheikh Zayed National Museum Abu Dhabi
  • Ceremony to unveil the museum model on 25 November 2010 with Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, and Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in attendance.
  • The museum will showcase the story of the founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed, and the history of the nation.
  • Construction schedule expected to start mid-2011, and finish in 2013. Planned opening date in 2014. Update 29 October 2011 (WAM) - opening date delayed (new date not supplied). Update 25 January 2012 (WAM) - new opening date announced as sometime in 2016.
  • Museum area of 66,000 sq meters. Developed in association with the British Museum. Facilities will include 5 galleries, a library, educational resources, restaurant.
  • Designers are Foster and Partners (UK). The 5 towers are intended to resemble the feathers of the wingtips of a falcons, with the tallest at 124 metres.
  • Lower level gallery called Sheikh Zayed: Life and Times, will feature exhibitions and interactive displays of archaeological material, and art works.
  • Another Sheikh Zayed gallery will have displays about the life of Sheikh Zayed, and the founding and unification of the emirates making up the UAE.
  • Another Falconry and Conservation lower gallery highlighting nature and wildlife of the UAE.
UAE Pavilion
  • The UAE Pavilion is the dune-shaped exhibition center that was at the 2010 World Fair Expo held in Shanghai, China. Dubai is bidding to host the 2020 World Expo.
  • The UAE Pavilion was moved to a location next to the Manarat Al Saadiyat exhibition center in 2011.
  • Designed by Foster & Partners.
  • Hosted the Abu Dhabi Art Fair in 2011.
Education - nurseries, schools, universities ...
Abu Dhabi Art Fair
  • Abu Dhabi Art 2012 (art fair and exhibition) held in the Saadiyat Cultural District 07-10 November 2012.
Saadiyat Island Cultural District history and timeline
  • 2012, January 25 - the Abu Dhabi Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) announced new opening dates announced for Saadiyat Island museums (WAM news) as Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2015, Zayed National Museum in 2016, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi in 2017.
  • 2011, October 19 - a statement released by TDIC (published by WAM news) said that scheduled completion dates of some projects had been delayed from 2013-2014. New dates were not supplied. Part of the statement said "... the initial plan was to open all these museums between 2013-2014; however, due to the immense magnitude of the work associated with the development of such consequential projects, the company has decided to extend the delivery dates."
  • 2004 - Tourism Development Investment Company (TDIC) established under UAE Law No 12 as the developer of Saadiyat Island.
  • 2004 - Gensler Associates of USA appointed to develop a Masterplan for the new project.
  • 2004 - Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) started plans to develop Saadiyat Island as a tourist destination with a Cultural District as its centerpiece.
Last update Friday 14-Mar-2014. Page development 3D 4L 5C.
Related pages
Related websites (new window)
  • www.saadiyatculturaldistrict.ae
  • - Saadiyat Island Cultural District website, includes details of current and upcoming events and exhibitions. In English and Arabic.


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