On July 8, 2006, Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation to establish a world-class museum devoted to modern and contemporary art. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a 450,000-square-foot museum designed by internationally acclaimed architect Frank Gehry, will be built as part of the Cultural District on Saadiyat Island—a natural island lying 500 meters offshore of Abu Dhabi city.
The Cultural District will be a square-mile ensemble of four museums, a five-stage performing arts center, and a park with pavilions for art and architecture exhibitions and programs, created in collaboration with some of the world’s most prominent art institutions and designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architects.
On November 13, 2007, officials representing Abu Dhabi and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation revealed details of the operating framework for the new Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum. The agreement has been established for 15 years—following five years for design development and construction.
The museum’s development presents a unique opportunity for collaboration and partnership that will foster cross-cultural exchange, dialogue, and understanding. The Guggenheim Foundation and Abu Dhabi aim to foster a culture of appreciation for the arts in the Middle East and around the world.