Guggenheim Art Pavilion,Saadiyat Island Cultural District,Abu Dhabi

Design:  2007-2008

Location:  Abu Dhabi, UAE


Project Background


Studio Pei-Zhu was invited by Guggenheim art foundation to participate in the design of Abu Dhabi art and cultural district in United Arab Emirates. In the letter, Thomas Krens, the chairman of the foundation wrote, ”we sincerely invite you to participate in one of the most important cultural architecture activities in the contemporary design world. A lot of renowned architects around the world have agreed to attend it…”


Art and cultural district was located on Saadiyar Island, which includes four museums, one performing art center and several art galleries. This project is a collaboration of Guggenheim, Louvre Museum, Yale University and several cultural organizations.


As the main representative of the design, Guggenheim foundation invited ten well-known architects: Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando, Greg LyNN, David Adjaye, Hani Rashid, Korean Architect Seung H-Sang and Studio Pei-Zhu.


The design of Art Pavilion aims to maximize the potential of its site by creating a dynamic connection between the urban fabric of the new Cultural District, and the canal at the centre of the Biennale Park. Raising the main exhibition space above the Biennale Park, a continuous public realm is created at ground level. Accessible from the street, park and canal side, this space is more than just a gateway to the exhibition hall, it is a place for curious passers-by to investigate, somewhere to enjoy a coffee overlooking the canal, a location for small public exhibitions or performances, or around-about route from the street to the canal side. The walls rising up to enclose the exhibition space above slope steeply outward, creating external shaded areas for park and pavilion visitors alike to enjoy, and maximizing views into the park from the street.





Architect: Studio Zhu-Pei


Design Principal: Zhu Pei, Wu Tong

Lead Designer: Mark Broom, Zeng Xiaoming

Project Team: Frisly Colop-Morales, He Fan, Yang Chao, Xue Dong

Structural Consultant: Rory McGowan (Arup)