Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
GCAM collaborated closely with Frank Gehry and the client in creating an extraordinary design. Additionally, GCAM developed a Content Narrative and Program Implementation Template as a detailed program document for the Museum’s Exhibitions Program, Collections, and Site Specific Installations. The architecture and the program were designed to be inextricably linked to each other as well as to the unique character of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates. The Museum was envisioned to have a specific, authentic, and powerful Arab and Middle Eastern identity, and at the same time address a sophisticated, global, and international audience.
The extraordinary design of an approximately 80,000 square meter building as well as terraces and semi-enclosed spaces – all able to be fully engaged in program – present an image and silhouette suggesting Bedouin tents in the desert and Arabian wind towers. The building’s architecture is predicated on a direct engagement with the most distinctive elements of the Abu Dhabi environment – the sun, the sand, the wind, and the sea.
The core permanent collection proposed for the museum was defined as art from the 1960s and globally focused. A dynamic program of acquisitions, commissions, and site-specific installations was envisioned for this purpose. There is also an integrally related special exhibitions program of extraordinary breadth and depth to fully engage all media of Modern and contemporary art, with a particular focus on Middle Eastern contemporary art, to be able to speak to local, regional, and international audiences.