Abu Dhabi Forges Ahead With Plans to Create a Cultural World Capital

Abu Dhabi today reaffirmed its commitment to completing the long-delayed project to build a $27 billion cultural and tourism project known as Saadiyat Island.

As Anthony Shadid reports in The New York Times, a veil of secrecy had hung over the future of the ambitious project in light of protests prompted by workers' conditions, fears of a financial bubble like the one that hit neighboring Dubai, and qualms over the overall vision for the project.

The project will include an architectural petting zoo of sorts featuring a branch of the Guggenheim museum designed by Frank Gehry, a branch of the Louvre designed by Jean Nouvel, and a national museum by Lord Norman Foster, which are now scheduled to be completed by 2017.

"These days, with something of a chip on its shoulder, Abu Dhabi appears determined to eclipse Dubai, its sister city, still reeling from the crash that began in 2008. The 10-square mile Saadiyat Island is one of the centerpieces of that Pharaonic vision, the museums joining a performing arts center designed by Zaha Hadid and a maritime museum planned by Tadao Ando."

Full Story: An Ambitious Arab Capital Reaffirms Its Grand Cultural Vision

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