The Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi announced Wednesday that the satellite Louvre art gallery will open its doors in 2015 and the Guggenheim museum in 2017, about three years later than expected.
The Abu Dhabi Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) announcement came a day after the executive council of Abu Dhabi said it had “approved the budgets and deadlines” for the inauguration of the projects of Saadiyat island, including the Guggenheim, the Louvre, and Zayed National Museum.
The executive council functions like a government for the emirate.
According to the TDIC statement, “substantial work has already been completed on the museums,” including detailed architectural designs and “all foundation work,” noting that art acquisitions are also “well underway.”
“Saadiyat Cultural District will create a cultural destination that will repeatedly attract visitors from the world of arts and culture,” said TDIC chairman Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan.
The museums were originally scheduled to open between 2013 and 2014, but delays were announced in October. At the time, local media reported that Abu Dhabi projects valued at $30 billion were frozen pending review, in a bid to scale back spending in difficult economic conditions.
US architect Frank Gehry designed the Abu Dhabi Guggenheim museum, which aims to be larger than the existing Guggenheims in New York, Berlin, Bilbao, Las Vegas, and Venice.
French architect Jean Nouvel designed the desert Louvre.
Abu Dhabi is engaged in an ambitious development plan, “Abu Dhabi 2030,” aimed at modernising the emirate and diversifying its economy.
Despite the global financial crisis and its severe impact on neighbouring Dubai, construction has continued in Abu Dhabi, but at a much slower pace than planned.