Summary

  • The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi has awarded the main construction contract for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi to a joint venture between Six Construct, a subsidiary of BESIX Group, and Trojan General Contracting LLC, a subsidiary of Alpha Dhabi Holding.
  • This museum, which is located on Saadiyat Island and borders on the Arabian Gulf on three sides, will be the largest of the four Guggenheim museums (New York, Venice and Bilbao) and will strengthen Abu Dhabi’s position as a global centre for arts and culture.
  • Construction is set to be completed in 2025.

The largest of the Guggenheim Museums: in Abu Dhabi

The outstanding architecture of the building is the work of the award-winning and world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. It features a series of asymmetrical cones which surround the main building and serve as both entrances to the museum and outdoor exhibition spaces.

The design also incorporates sustainable elements appropriate to the region, including the natural cooling and ventilation of the covered courtyards, inspired by the concept of traditional wind towers found throughout the Middle East.

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be part of the Saadiyat Cultural District, an emerging global cultural centre with a concentration of iconic museums, galleries, and performance venues. In collaboration with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the museum will present a collection from all four corners of the world (including art since circa 1960) with a specific focus on West Asia, North Africa, and South Asia (WANASA). The museum’s collection will foster a deeper understanding of how different art perspectives have shaped the interconnected histories and cultures of our time. The museum will also serve as a forum for academic research and intellectual and cultural dialogue, engaging artists, scholars, curators, architects and innovative thinkers.

A high-profile challenge for BESIX Group and its partners

The joint venture contract includes all construction work, except for the foundations, which have already been completed. The building is made of various materials, including steel, concrete, wood and aluminum. The construction process has been carefully prepared by the joint venture partners to optimize planning, methods and procurement. Work is set to be completed in 2025.

Pierre Sironval, Deputy CEO of BESIX Group: “We are extremely proud to build the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a museum of global modern and contemporary art that will further enhance the appeal of Abu Dhabi as a destination. The museum joins BESIX Group’s previous achievements in Abu Dhabi, including Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Emirates Palace and the Sheikh Zayed Bridge. We have also had the honor of constructing the Dancing House, designed by Frank Gehry, in Prague.”

Olivier Crasson, General Manager of BESIX-Six Construct: “I would like to thank our client, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, for its confidence. This is a particularly complex yet very sustainable building, which will benefit from our engineering and construction expertise. Together with Trojan, a high-quality partner, we will make the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi a great success for our client and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.”

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