According to the official statements from the Guggenheim Foundation, work on the new Abu Dhabi Museum, designed by architect Frank Gehry, has still not started. Recent reports state the contract for the £530 million Guggenheim Abu Dhabi has still not been awarded to any corporation. The plans to build The Guggenheim Museum were reveled in a publicity fanfare at least nine years ago. The plans were to reestablish the Middle Eastern destination as the hub of cultural tourism and a landmark destination. But without a contractor, the museum doesn’t have any hope of receiving any plans or a completion date yet.
Although the design and construction were supposed to be finished and an expected date to be released to the public, the development process is still in the ruckus and nothing has been planned yet. Museum publicist Molly Stewart said in a short statement, “The museum in Abu Dhabi is not yet under construction.” Apart from that, no official statement has yet been released by the relevant authorities.
This is not the only project that has been delayed in the region. Other landmark projects on Saadiyat Island in the Gulf state have also been delayed with no further notice, and although Jean Nouvel’s Louvre art gallery is almost complete, the Guggenheim Museum is showing no signs of progress on either a contractual or construction front. Since 2011, when the 1,400 concrete piles were poured, the project has been sitting idle, much to the consternation of the architectural world.
According to the Tourism Development Investment Corporation (TDIC), authorities will soon release a timetable for the project as soon as the contractor has been chosen for the project. The TDIC is the government authority, which is authorized with constructing cultural and traditional institutions on Saadiyat Island. A TDIC spokesperson said in a statement, “Preparatory structural work has been completed for Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. Once the main construction tender is awarded, further details on the project’s timeline will be communicated.”
Since the project was proposed, the region has seen a rapid economic shift due to the reduction in oil prices and the threat from the Islamic extremists and an enhanced need for local employment. As a result, local projects have suffered the brunt of the situation in the worst way. The projected cost for The Guggenheim Museum is £18 billion, and the Saadiyat Island complex is rumored to include a large roller coaster ride, a Performing Arts Centre by Zaha Hadid, a Maritime Museum by Tadao Ando and a British museum spin-off by Foster + Partners.
The first phase of development was supposed to boast The Louvre and Guggenheim. However, the Louvre is near its completion and although the date of its completion was pushed from 2015 to 2017, it is in its final stages of construction. TDIC chairman, Ali Majed Al Mansoori, said in a statement, “Construction of the museum is in its final stages and we are looking forward to a handover of the building taking place mid-2016.” However, the fate of The Guggenheim Museum is still up in the air.