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Creative Clusters 2007, London: Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi

The Artist as Property Developer

Creative Clusters 2007 welcomes Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, Deputy Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Culture Authority, as he discusses Saadiyat Island as part of the session ‘The Artist As Property Developer: Cultural buildings as part of the infrastructure of the modern city’.

Saadiyat Island is a £13 billion (GBP) mixed commercial, residential, and leisure project currently under construction off the coast of Abu Dhabi. Saadiyat (meaning “Island of Happiness”) is expected to become Abu Dhabi’s cultural centre.

The district includes cultural venues designed by some of the world’s most celebrated contemporary architects – Frank Gehry is designing the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (to be the largest Guggenheim in the world); Jean Nouvel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi; Tadao Ando, a new maritime museum; and Zaha Hadid, a new
performing arts centre for the emirate.

Saadiyat Island will eventually house around 150,000 residents and will be connected to Abu Dhabi via two ten-lane causeways. Wall Street Journal tipped it as a top 10 emerging ‘trendy destination’ in September 2007.

New zones devoted to creativity and culture are being designated in cities and towns across the world. The functional emphasis varies: they might be places for cultural consumption, for creative cheap oakley sunglasses industries production, or for tourism and heritage. But always, these cultural zones (or districts or quarters) are seen as key to a place’s identity, renewal and modernity, civic infrastructure as essential as a railway station was 150 years ago. This session looks at the increasingly important role of cultural buildings in the development and
regeneration of cities. What are the implications for the cultural sector when arts buildings are so
central to the identity, and the economy, of cities?

Joining Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh are BFI Director Eddie Berg, who is overseeing a major new landmark art cinema complex near London’s Hungerford Bridge, and former project manager for cheap oakley the redevelopment of the Tate Modern, Dawn Austwick, as we ask: “With cultural buildings driving centre city development, are we all property developers now?”