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Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Abu Dhabi not on hold, says TDIC CEO

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is not on hold, a senior Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) official has said, Arabian Business reports.

When asked about Guggenheim, Sufian Hasan Al Marzooqi,   chief executive officer, TDIC said the project was “not on hold”, declining to give further details.

In February 2016, Dezeen, an architecture and design magazine, quoted Guggenheim architect Frank Gehry as saying the work has not started on the museum and no construction contract been yet awarded for the $680 million (£530 million) museum.

READ MOREGehry hopes to see Guggenheim Abu Dhabi before he dies

In 2012, Gehry attended a panel discussion as part of Art Abu Dhabi alongside Jean Nouvel and Lord Normal Foster.

During the discussion, the architect said of the Guggenheim project in Abu Dhabi: “I’m 83, so I’m worried about if they are going to finish on time, so I can see it.”

The museum will have 13,000 square metre of gallery space, 18,000 square metres of exhibition space and a 350-seat theatre, a library, a research centre and food and beverage, and retail outlets.

TDIC is developing both  Guggenheim and Louvre Abu Dhabi museums, whilst the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA) will operate and manage them.

Jean Nouvel-designed Louvre Abu Dhabi, which has been delayed for five years, is ready for handover to the emirate’s tourism department, Al Marzooqi, said on Tuesday during a media  briefing at Cityscape event.

READ MORE: Images reveal Jean Nouvel-designed Louvre Abu Dhabi is well underway

Frank Gehry at Art Abu Dhabi panel discussion in 2012.

“The Louvre is ready and we are handing it over to Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority this year,” he told Arabian Business.

Announced in 2007, The Louvre was originally scheduled to open in 2012 but that target has been pushed back a number of times.

Louvre Abu Dhabi construction is well underway.

Though no opening date was given, the official said the opening requires a lot of consultation as it will not be a “small soft opening”.

A museum of the Louvre’s magnitude will have to go through testing, art installation and development of the visitor experience before the official opening.

Italian artist Guiseppe Penone and American aritst Jenny Holzer have created site-specific art installations for the museum which includes bronze tree and fingerprint tiles.

In this video posted on designMENA, readers can take a virtual tour of the museum with commentary by the architect.