Time Frame: With a new face, culture is back at the heart of the capital

While there may be no Qasr Al Hosn Festival this year that doesn’t mean there isn’t cause for celebration.

Abu Dhabi’s Tourism and Culture Authority unveiled a new master plan this week not just for the white fort, which will open in 2018, but for the Cultural Foundation and the whole city block in between.

While the fate of the Al Nahyan family seat was always assured, the same cannot be said for the Cultural Foundation, which once housed Abu Dhabi’s national library.

Deemed surplus to requirements by an earlier master plan, the Cultural Foundation was closed to the public in 2009 and earmarked for demolition, losing most of its external perimeter wall before receiving a stay of execution.

By the time this photograph was taken in 2015, the Cultural Foundation had been saved, but its precise future was still a matter of conjecture – days of doubt that have finally come to an end.As well as having its theatre restored and its library reinstated, the rejuvenated Cultural Foundation Building will also feature a rooftop restaurant and a new coffee shop will replace the old Delma Café, the much-loved snug that was always filled with home-made cakes, plants and books.

The concept behind the latest plan is to put culture at the heart of the city, but as Abu Dhabi’s older residents know, with the Cultural Foundation that was always the case.

* Nick Leech

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