Architecture / art / Arts & Culture / Culture / Curiosities / Economic Development / Innovation / International / Middle East / Museums / urban design

Saadiyat–The Island of Happiness for Culture Vultures

Hadid600 When I first launched Curated Eclectica, I chose as my background theme my favorite culture creation project in the world: the Saadiyat Island project–a museum mecca extraordinaire, which the New York Times called “A Cultural Xanadu.”   I first was delighted to discover this project upon visiting a scale model exhibit at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi and touring areas near the land-to-be location.   Here’s another Saadiyat website for further background.  Besides the dizzying array of exhibits to be housed here, the Island will feature iconic buildings by many of the world’s leading architects including Tadao Ando, Norman Foster, Jean Nouvel and Frank Gehry among others.

This sophisticated museum wonderland remains a source of utter fascination and is quickly becoming reality.  Shown above is the model for Iraqi-born woman architect Zaha Hadid’s Performing Arts Center

Construction of the magnificent Louvre Museum building (a great story in itself!) is well underway. French architect Jean Nouvel’s amazing roof design was inspired by Islamic geometric patterns and will cast magical light inside the building.  As of March, the first gallery has already been completed!

jean-nouvel-louvre-abu-dhabi-construction-designboom-01

But wait…there’s more.  Several leading American universities including American, Georgetown and NYU have opened campuses in the Arabian Gulf–primarily in the Emirates and in Qatar.  Soooo, NYU’s new campus-now sprawls over 8 city blocks on Saadiyat Island!  Construction was completed in April.  Designed by award-winning Rafael Viñoly Architects, the state-of-the-art campus includes 21 buildings built to the highest specifications and featuring the latest technology.

Saadiyat Island Development is one of Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) flagship developments. The island is 27 kilometres and located 500 metres off Shore of Abu Dhabi Island. The island is being developed as a major tourism and leisure destination. The Saadiyat Island development will have seven districts which are Cultural District, Saadiyat Beach, South Beach, The Wetlands, Island Lagoons, Al Marina, and ECO-Point. Saadiyat Island will accommodate more than 170,000 people and will be connected with Abu Dhabi Island via bridges and tunnels.

A Google search will also turn up the ugly side of this spectacular construction project, worker-abuse which has long been and remains an issue in the Emirates, despite heightened awareness and protest.

..More to come in future postings.  I encourage you to explore this topic!

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