Video> Frank Gehry on his eccentric Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum

Gehry and his Guggenheim model. (Screengrab via NYTimes)

Gehry and his Guggenheim Abu Dhabi model. (Screengrab via the New York Times)

Up-and-coming architect Frank Gehry recently sat down with the New York Times to discuss his  Guggenheim museum under construction on Saadiyat Island near Abu Dhabi. The eccentric or idiosyncratic or whimsical structure totals 450,000 square feet, making it 12 times larger than the Guggenheim in New York. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi  is defined by multiple cones that Gehry says were influenced by teepees because of how they remove hot air. The design is also supposed to evoke the domes of mosques around the Middle East. Although that’s a bit harder to discern.

Watch the video interview after the jump.

Jean Nouvel–Designed Louvre Abu Dhabi Begins Construction

International
Thursday, August 15, 2013
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(Courtesy Atelier Jean Nouvel)

(Courtesy Atelier Jean Nouvel)

French Pritzker Prize–winning architect Jean Nouvel‘s design for Louvre Abu Dhabi has begun construction after a series of delays. The building’s most prominent feature is a 180-meter-diameter  dome. The design of the dome is culturally relevant as well as utilitarian. The shape is prominent in traditional Arabian architecture. As the Louvre Abu Dhabi website describes, it is “an emblematic feature…evoking the mosque, the mausoleum, and the madrasa.” The dome’s expanse also protects the building and its visitors from the sun. Carefully formulated geometric apertures in the all-white structure allow diffused and dappled daylight inside the museum, while mitigating heat gain. Nouvel designed the dappled pattern to emulate interlaced palm fronds, which are traditionally used in Arabic countries for thatch roofs.

Continue reading after the jump.

CTBUH Names Best Tall Buildings for 2013

International
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
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The Bow, Calgary, Canada. (Nigel Young)

The Bow, Calgary, Canada. (Nigel Young)

After reviewing over 60 entries from around the world, The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has selected this year’s winners of its annual Best Tall Buildings. Regional winners from Canada, China, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates have been announced, while an overall winner will be revealed at the CTBUH 12th Annual Ceremony in November. Projects are recognized for their impacts on the development of tall buildings and the urban environment, and for sustainability.

View the winners after the jump.

Architects Propose Carving a Soccer Stadium Into Mountains Near Abu Dhabi

International, Newsletter
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
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The Rock Stadium (Courtesy of MZ Architects)

The Rock Stadium (Courtesy of MZ Architects)

A new sports stadium designed by Lebanon’s MZ Architects, though experimental, differs from the glitz and glam we’ve become accustomed to seeing from Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Instead of showing off with dramatic curves and shiny glass, the proposed “Rock Stadium” would be buried in the Al Ain desert and will work with the natural elements, being concealed by the its rocky landscape.

Continue reading after the jump.

Unveiled> Abu Dhabi’s Second CBD?

Midwest, Newsletter
Friday, September 14, 2012
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(Courtesy Goettsch Partners)

Goettsch Partners designed the Al Hilal bank flagship office tower for a new business district planned in Abu Dhabi. (Courtesy Goettsch Partners)

Abu Dhabi’s dizzying building boom slowed down somewhat after the 2008 financial collapse dried up the liquidity that inspires big projects. The damage appears not to have been permanent, however, as the UAE capital will forge ahead with a 24-story speculative office tower—part of a new central business district on Al Maryah Island.

Continue reading after the jump.

Burj Inaugurated and Renamed

International
Monday, January 4, 2010
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The newly renamed Burj Khalifa under construction. (all images courtesy SOM)

Today marks the official inauguration of the world’s tallest building, the Burj in Dubai. While the opening comes at a rocky time for the emirate and for the global real estate market, it was greeted with great fanfare, including, cannily, renaming the building the Burj Khalifa, after the president of neighboring Abu Dhabi, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The move signaled both Dubai’s gratitude for Abu Dhabi’s recent bailout and the unity of the emirates through the financial crisis.

Read More

Frank Frank on Frank

East, East Coast
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
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Video projection of Gehry/Armstrong Conversation taking place 10 feet away while audience chewed steak and mulled on all the unspoken topics

Video projection of Gehry/Armstrong Conversation taking place 10 feet away while audience chewed steak and mulled on all the unspoken topics

The invitation billed it as an exclusive conversation about “the potential of architecture for urban, economic, and political change.” But when Frank Gehry and Richard Armstrong, director of the Guggenheim Museum, sat down before the mics after one and half hours of benefit chow at a new Wall Street steakhouse and just 15 minutes before the event was to end, the talk, like the $200/plate mashed potatoes and pureed spinach, was noticeably soft. Read More

Up, Up, and Abu Dhabi!

Other
Thursday, May 28, 2009
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RMJMs Capital Gate tower in Abu Dhabi will lean more than the Tower of Pisa. (Images courtesy RMJM)

RMJM's Capital Gate tower in Abu Dhabi will lean more than the Tower of Pisa. (Images courtesy RMJM)

When I was out in LA at Postopolis!, one of the most interesting and memorable talks I heard was Christopher Hawthorne’s, on the chilling, almost creepy, effect the recession has had on the United Arab Emirates, in particular Dubai. While he still hasn’t written up his version of his trip–and we wish he would, because the talk was so interesting–the basic gist was that construction had all but stopped in Dubai, and to some degree in Abu Dhabi (to say nothing of New York and LA), because the spigot of liquidity--money had dried up with the collapse of the financial system. He termed it Ponzi-scheme urbanism. Well, it seems some things are still moving out in the wild, sandy yonder, as RMJM’s Princeton office (formerly Hillier) just passed along the following impressive photo of its Capital Gate tower passing the half-way mark. Read More

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