The delays to Abu Dhabi’s flagship museum projects came under scrutiny at yesterday’s roundtable discussion held by Middle East Architect.
Steven Miller, MENA regional manager for Perkins Eastman (pictured), remarked: “Dubai is always going to be the brand for the UAE, but the people in Abu Dhabi don’t seem to understand this.
“Build your museums because that’s what you’re about. So what do they do? Stop the museums. I can’t understand that.”
Nigel Craddock, design manager for Stride Treglown, pointed out that the delays could be due to the social problems in the wider Middle East.
He commented: “Because of all that’s happened in the wider region – the Arab uprising etc – there has been quite a shift. Abu Dhabi is thinking, how do we keep the people happy? Do we build three museums or do we move into social infrastructure like education, hospitals, and get all the roads and rails fixed up?”
Phil Dalglish, director, Buro Happold, suggested that Abu Dhabi has the available resources to build its flagship projects.
“Abu Dhabi is a wealth driven economy – they have enough natural resources there to finance their economy. Dubai is a market driven economy so you’ll always get innovation from Dubai, but it’s the place where everybody wants to live,” he said.
In October 2011, government-backed developer TDIC announced delays to the Louvre, Guggenheim and Zayed National museums to ensure that “quality is not compromised”.