In Abu Dhabi, new ambition and dark underside
In the popular imagination, Abu Dhabi has always played cautious older brother to Dubai, its free-spending, deal-making sibling in the United Arab Emirates. But now, as Dubai struggles to recover from the stunning collapse of its real-estate market, Abu Dhabi -- the capital of the UAE and its wealthiest member -- is finally ready for a turn in the spotlight.
This weekend, in Calendar's Arts & Music section, I'll finish my two-part report from the UAE with an in-depth look at two of Abu Dhabi's most ambitious architectural and urban-planning projects: the eco-community Masdar City (left), which aims to be the world's first zero-carbon, zero-waste city, and the cultural district (above) on Saadiyat Island, which will include Frank Gehry's newest Guggenheim outpost and a branch of the Louvre by Jean Nouvel.
My goal: to use the pair of projects as a lens to examine Abu Dhabi's newfound ambition -- and the power that comes with being able to finance its own projects while credit remains tight around the globe.
-- Christopher Hawthorne
Top: Saadiyat Island Cultural District. Credit: Tourism Development & Investment Company. Below: Masdar City. Credit: Foster & Partners