Saadiyat, a small Island, 500 meters off the coast of Abu Dhabi was once home to weekend campers, boat parties and water skiers owing to its rich, clear turquoise water and fauna. The same city is now going to develop by leaps and bounds with a 27 billion makeover in a bid to turn Abu Dhabi into a cultural nucleus of sorts. Abu Dhabi will witness the sight of an offshoot of Louvre, the 450,000 sq ft. Guggenheim museum, a National museum inspired by the British museum, a performing arts center designed by popular architect Zaha Hadid, several art schools, various pavilions and other cultural franchises that will host temporary exhibitions from around the world. Also a 10-lane bridge is being meticulously planned in order to seize the market of 40 million people who travel through the UAE each year. Among the several designers, architects and big names working together to create the museums and buildings are Frank Gehry (designing the Guggenheim), Jean Nouvel (architect behind Louvre), British architect Norman Forster (The National Museum) and Zaha Hadid (Performing Arts center)
The Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is an offshoot of the Louvre of Paris, will pay a sum of $1.3 billion as royalty for using the Parisian counterpart’s name. The whole project has managed to draw so much attention that even the French President Nicolas Sarkozy flew down in May to attend the inauguration ceremony May. Saadiyat is said to be developed by 2013 and has said a target of 1.5 million visitors to throng the city each year by 2018. With the construction of this awe-inspiring cultural panorama, it wouldn’t seem surprising if Abu Dhabi manages to achieve that figure even before 2018.