It was Vitruvuis, writing in ancient Rome around 30 BC, who set out the three elements of architecture as "commodity, firmness, and delight." For me, what he said still holds true - and I've said it before. The architect must sell what she/he creates, it must be engineeringly and architecturally sound and it must be a piece of art so to speak.
I'm going to remind you of some projects and show you some photographs that have been talked about a great deal because they are completed or about to be. They are in Abu Dhabi - the cousin of the Vegas-y Dubai. Abu Dhabi has chosen to develop another way - a cultural way, a smarter way in my opinion. It was AD that 'bailed out' Dubai during the financial crisis of late.
Just off the coast of Abu Dhabi city, Saadiyat Island is undergoing a remarkable transformation to become a world-class leisure, residential, business and cultural hub of global proportions, "housing the world’s largest single concentration of premier cultural assets."
These will include Zayed National Museum, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, a performing arts centre and maritime museum which, combined, will make up the world’s largest single concentration of premier cultural institutions. All these prestigious cultural assets have been designed by architectural luminaries such as Lord Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid and Tado Andao respectively.
Zayed National Museum
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi
Louvre Abu Dhabi
Performing Arts Center
It's always great to see a country or city on the move, huh? You have to admire their . . . gumption. Looks beautiful. I'm sure there is so much we don't know about how? what? when? who? ect . . .
When I see things like this it always makes me think of my country: America. Sure, we have wonderful institutions: the Met, MOMA, SOMA . . . so many many more that I can't name them all. Couldn't we have more? theater? better schools? It makes me think of our military budget, sorry.
What does it make you think of? I am loving the architecture though. I want to get on a plane and go there for a visit.
An excerpt from the NYT: March 7, 2007
How about a cool $520 million?
That is the amount that Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, agreed Tuesday to pay to attach the Louvre’s name to a museum that it hopes to open in 2012. And there is more: in exchange for art loans, special exhibitions and management advice, Abu Dhabi will pay France an additional $747 million.
Controversy over the Louvre Abu Dhabi has been swirling in France for the last three months, with critics charging that the French government is “selling” its museums. But only now have the full details of the nearly $1.3 billion package been disclosed.
For Abu Dhabi, the deal is an important step in its plan to build a $27 billion tourist and cultural development on Saadiyat Island, opposite the city. The project’s cultural components include a Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a maritime museum and a performing arts center as well as the Louvre Abu Dhabi.