Concepts for a world-class cultural district to be built on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island were unveiled on 31 January 2007. The plans include iconic museums and a performing arts center by Hadid, Gehry, Nouvel and Ando. Hadid is designing the Saaydiyat’s Performing Arts Center, which will host music, theatre and dance performances. A 62 meter high structure is proposed housing five theatres with a seating capacity of 6,3000- 1,100 more that London’s Royal Albert Hall. “The performance spaces spring from the structure like fruits on a vine and face westward toward the water”, said Hadid. Gehry is designing the Guggenheim Abui Dhabi, which at 320,00 square feet will be the largest Guggenheim museum in the world. The contemporary art museum will feature 130,000 square feet of exhibition space, a center for art and technology, an art education facility, archives, library and a research center. Nouvel’s design for the Classical Museum owes much to its natural surroundings. It is described as a simple plan of an archaeological field revived as a cluster of one-row buildings along a leisurely promenade. A large dome with a translucent ceiling covers the building. Ando’s Maritime Museum concept is inspired by Abu Dhabi’s landscape and maritime traditions. It has a reflective surface that visually merges sea and land. It’s ship-like interior has floating decks which guide visitors through the exhibition space. The buildings are scheduled to open under a phased program starting in 2012. Models and plans of the projects are currently on exhibit at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi.
Thumbnails from left to right: Hadid's interior image, Gehry's model 1, Gehry's model 2, Nouvel's model 1, Nouvel's model 2 & Tado's model 1.