Guggenheim Multimedia Technology Museum

Abu Dhabi, UAE
Throughout history, art has always served as a powerful and resonating vehicle of cultural expression and a reflection on a society's status and enlightened position in the world. These pavilions are at once looking into the past, the present and the future, seemingly engaged in a profound and silent dialogue. They are designed to embody timelessness and to allow for varied subjective interpretations and the superimposition of different meanings as time and local culture moves forward. Through their abstract and formal language they are conceived as tectonic gestures, privileging at once elegance, perfection and beauty, all drawn from the unique and profound landscapes, histories and futures that define this remarkable part of the world. Asymptote's Guggenheim Pavilions at Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi are conceived of as state-of-the-art "big box'" contemporary art galleries.
The architecture merges the rich historical and cultural traditions of the region with new spatial, technological and structural concepts, allowing for truly unique and historical buildings. The two articulated "shell" enclosures primarily house viewing galleries for contemporary art in its many guises from traditional painting and sculpture to video and interactive installations, as well as virtual reality and electronic art forms. The galleries are designed as flexible and dynamic interior environments, utilizing electronic enclosure designs that filter, modulate and refract external daylight and interior artificial illumination. The architecture of each pavilion is drawn from influences in nature as well as from the manmade environment. The stone and jewel-like qualities of the forms engender a timeless essence. Poised within the landscape, the inclined geometry of the forms invites visitors to slip beneath the polished surfaces towards the public entrances. Upon entering the interior, the optical effects created through apertures in the enclosure capture the visitor's eye. Light within the pavilions is filtered and modulated to create vivid and vibrant environments for the exhibition of art and to enhance the spatial qualities created by the robust shell tectonics that encase the galleries, cafés and other public spaces.
Project Information
Date: 2006

Size: 8000sqm

Location: Saayidat Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Design Team:

Architect: Asymptote Architecture

Design: Hani Rashid, Lise Anne Couture

Design Team: Stella Lee, Greg Derrico

Kasper Ax, Allan Sorensen, Hiroe Fujimoto


The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC)