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Abu Dhabi govt cancels Guggenheim Museum tender

Oil-rich emirate cancels 400-million-dirham tender for prestigious ‎modern art museum, news agencies report

Ati Metwaly, Monday 24 Oct 2011
Views: 2077
Views: 2077

Reuters has announced that Abu Dhabi’s state-owned Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) has cancelled its tender to build a Guggenheim Museum in the oil-rich Emirate.

After TDIC had called for bids, a number of contractors had submitted offerings “for a 400 million dirham ($108.9 million) package in March,” according to Reuters. Reuters said the bidders list included the UAE's Al-Habtoor-Leighton Group, Dubai builder Arabtec, Saudi Oger, Egypt's Orascom Construction and South Korea's Samsung C&T.

Without elaborating further, Middle East news source MEED reported that the abrupt cancellation had been related to the “structural package” of the museum.

TDIC, for its part, has not released any additional information regarding its decision.‎

In January, Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum, announced the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi project, involving a 452,000 square-foot museum of modern art set to open in 2013 on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island. Along with the Louvre, the Guggenheim was to be one of two major international museums to be built on the island.

The planned museum was to be the largest Guggenheim in the world, housing an impressive modern art collection in addition to regular displays of works from the Guggenheim Foundation’s collection.

If completed, the museum would have held global art exhibitions and education programmes with particular focus on Middle Eastern contemporary art. As such, the museum had hoped to become a leading cultural institution in the Middle East.

Plans for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi were drawn up by renowned American architect Frank Gehry.

“It was clear from the beginning that this had to be a new invention,” Gehry said in a statement released on the Guggenheim Foundation's website. “The site itself, virtually on the water or close to the water on all sides, in a desert landscape with the beautiful sea and the light quality of the place, suggested some of the direction.”

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