Saadiyat Cultural District will be completed in 2025

Mega-project, which includes Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Zayed National Museum, is 76% finished, says tourism department

Architectural plans for Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The institution spearheads the emirate's vision to foster cultural diversity. Photo: Gehry Partners
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Two of the UAE's most anticipated museums are one step closer to opening, with Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Zayed National Museum set for completion by next year.

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi has announced that the construction of all "key assets" in the Saadiyat Cultural District is nearly finished. As well as the two institutions, the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi and teamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi are nearing completion.

The new landmarks will join Louvre Abu Dhabi, which welcomed its five millionth visitor in March; the event space Manarat Al Saadiyat; and the music conservatory Berklee Abu Dhabi.

Currently, 76 per cent of the district has been built, the department said, with each landmark telling its own story on the evolution of the UAE and greater mankind.

Zayed National Museum will celebrate UAE history and culture, and pay tribute to the legacy of the UAE Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi, meanwhile, will feature a research and teaching institution, and shed light on the history of our universe and our planet.

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be home to modern art from the 1960s to the present while teamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi will be a 17,000 square metre site populated with cutting-edge art installations. Founded in Tokyo in 2001, teamLab has become famous for its embrace of digital technology and the importance placed on the symbiotic relationship between art and the viewer.

The department's chairman Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak said the district aims to be a hub for creative and cultural exchange.

“Culture transcends mere connections; it shapes our very evolution and broadens our perspectives," he said. "Here in Abu Dhabi, we embrace this influence, fostering a deep appreciation that resonates throughout our community. Saadiyat Cultural District embodies cultural hope.

“The district will convey a message of cultural diversity that will become more powerful over time, creating global connections, inspiring cultural exchange and fostering new ways of thinking to support the region, the Global South and the world. Saadiyat Cultural District is somewhere people can come to learn from the past, understand our present and focus on our future.”

The announcement comes on the back of an international marketing campaign launched by the department, with a film featuring a range of cultural personalities including Oprah Winfrey, architect Norman Foster, Solomon Guggenheim Museum and foundation director Mariet Westermann, Idris Elba and pianist Lang Lang.

Joining them in discussing the power of culture are leading Emirati figures including Al Mubarak; Zaki Nusseibeh, cultural advisor to the President; and artists Najat Makki and Afra Al Dhaheri.

Updated: May 22, 2024, 1:33 PM