Construction to begin on Frank Gehry's long-awaited Guggenheim Abu Dhabi
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi by Frank Gehry

Construction set to begin on Frank Gehry's long-awaited Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

The Guggenheim Foundation has revealed that its Frank Gehry-designed art museum in the United Arab Emirates is "on track" to complete in four years time.

First unveiled in 2007, the long-awaited Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be 42,000-square-metres, making it the largest of the four Guggenheim outposts.

Though the specific timeline for construction of the sculptural building has not been disclosed, the foundation's director Richard Armstrong has confirmed that the project will take approximately four years to complete.

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi by Frank Gehry
Over a decade since it was first revealed, construction of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is now "on track"

"We're on track and we're on budget, and we're looking forward to the commencement of building construction soon," Armstrong told Euronews at the Culture Summit Abu Dhabi.

"I reckon it will be about three and a half or four years, it's a big building and parts of it are quite complex," he added. "It should take a little bit of time to put together."

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi by Frank Gehry
The museum will be located on Saadiyat Island alongside buildings by Jean Nouvel and Zaha Hadid.

Commissioned by Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development & Investment Company, which will own the museum, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be operated by the Guggenheim Foundation.

It will be located at the northwestern tip of Saadiyat Island – a new cultural district off the coast of the UAE's capital city. Home to Jean Nouvel's Louvre Abu Dhabi, it is intended to establish Abu Dhabi as a major cultural destination.

The pair of museums will be joined by the National Museum of the UAE by Foster + Partners, a futuristic performing arts centre by Zaha Hadid Architects and a maritime museum by Tadao Ando.

Preparatory structural work began on Guggenheim Abu Dhabi in 2011 when 1,400 concrete piles were poured, however there has been little known progress on its construction since.

Once complete, it will comprise a cluster of galleries of varying heights, shapes, and character containing works by the likes of James Turrell, Ernesto Neto or Monika Sosnowska.

It will also have a centre for art and technology, a children's education facility, archives, library and research centre and a "state-of-the-art" conservation laboratory.

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi by Frank Gehry
It will be the largest Guggenheim outpost and comprise a cluster of galleries

The Abu Dhabi museum is not been the only proposed Guggenheim outpost to have had problems getting off the ground. In 2016, the Helsinki outpost was rejected by the city council after it decided not to allocate funds.

Designed by Moreau Kusunoki Architectes, the museum would have taken the form of a cluster of charred timber pavilions linked by garden patios on Helsinki's waterfront.