ABU DHABI // The names are imposing: Zayed; Guggenheim; the Louvre. Now, the race is on to see which companies are chosen to build the Saadiyat Island museums that will carry those names and burnish the capital's cultural reputation. The main contractors to build the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Zayed National Museum will be chosen this summer; the Guggenheim builder will be chosen in January, according to the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC).
"There is no doubt that 2010 and 2011 will prove to be exciting as we continue to be one of the leaders in shaping Abu Dhabi's tourism offering," said Lee Tabler, chief executive of the TDIC. The architects for the three museums were chosen long ago: Jean Nouvel for the Louvre, Norman Foster for the Zayed and Frank Gehry for the Guggenheim. All are winners of the prestigious Pritzker Prize. The tendering programme for the substructure and enabling works for the three museums was previously announced.
Only now do contractors know when the builders will be identified: in June for the Louvre and in August for the Zayed. All three museums are expected to open in 2013.
The museums are expected to provide a powerful cultural presence in the capital and the region.
"Abu Dhabi is appealing to people as an exciting place," said Bassem Terkawi, a TDIC spokesman.