Abu Dhabi Guggenheim and Louvre Now Seem Back on Track

After surviving a very rough and tumble summer, starting around mid-October, things were began looking tough again for both the Abu Dhabi Guggenheim and the Louvre wing that was also set to go up in the Middle Eastern cultural hub, and it only got worse from there. First, there was a semi-innocuous delay on the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim there, blamed originally on some government contract disputes. Then, as more news was released about a mass of unpaid bills and the entire United Arab Emirates quickly pulling their money out of any and all cultural projects to focus instead on Arab Spring-related matters, it was sounding like both projects might be entirely abandoned. So dire did it seem that the Guggenheim was quick to ramp back up their interest in building a new arm in Helsinki (though this could have been just convenient and beneficial timing). However, it now seems like perhaps both the Guggenheim and the Jean Nouvel-designed Louvre extensions have been placed back on track and all the worry may have been for naught. Yesterday, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Development and Investment Company announced that work will soon resume on the projects, as well as the surrounding Saadiyat Cultural District in which both will call home. The only thing changed will now be the opening dates, pushed back by a number of years. The Louvre, originally set to open sometime next year, is now slated for 2015. The Guggenheim, also originally set to open in the next year or two, has been pushed back to 2017. A long time to wait, for sure, but both institutions must be breathing a sigh of relief in knowing that, at least for now, the projects haven’t been abandoned.