Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Opening Date Revealed

John Hill
22. September 2021
Model of Gehry's Guggenheim Abu Dhabi in 2013. (Photo: Alberto-g-rovi/Wikimedia Commons)

Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong, speaking at a press conference in Basel, Switzerland, announced that the long awaited — and much delayed — Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, designed by Frank Gehry, will open in 2026.

Although Armstrong's comment that "we think it should be five years from next week," as quoted by The Art Newspaper yesterday, is precise yet considerably far off, a 2026 opening would notably mark 20 years since the project was unveiled by his successor, Thomas Krens. Indicating that he is off to the Middle East soon, Armstrong also said, "It looks like everything is coming together so we can say something definitive." When completed, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island will complete the island's cultural district that also includes the Louvre Abu Dhabi by Jean Nouvel and the Zayed National Museum by Foster + Partners, among other institutions.

Model of Gehry's Guggenheim Abu Dhabi in foreground, with the dome of Jean Nouvel's Louvre Abu Dhabi at center-right. (Photo: Alberto-g-rovi/Wikimedia Commons)

Announced in 2006 with an opening date of 2013, site and structural work started in 2011, only to be suspended the same year by the UAE's Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC). The opening date was repeatedly pushed back due to construction delays, and in recent years there was little to no news on the museum and any progress toward its completion. Armstrong's comments appear to put any uncertainty over the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi to rest, as does some apparent construction activity visible in an aerial view on Google Maps. Nevertheless, a lot can happen in five years — or not, based on the last fifteen years of the planned 320,000-square-foot museum.

A screenshot of Google Maps showing the peninsula on Saadiyat Island where construction on the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi appears to be underway.

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