Saadiyat Island

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Saadiyat Island
Saadiyat Island Model Pict 1.jpg
Scale model of proposed Saadiyat Island development.
Coordinates 24°32′09″N 54°26′33″E / 24.5358°N 54.4424°E / 24.5358; 54.4424
United Arab Emirates

Saadiyat Island (Arabic: جزيرة السعديات‎‎; jazīrat as-saʿdiyyāt, for "Island of Happiness"[1]) is a tourism-cultural project for nature and Emirati heritage and culture.[2] The project, under development, consists of a large, low-lying island, 500 metres (1,600 ft) off the coast of Abu Dhabi island, UAE. A mixed commercial, residential, and leisure project is currently under construction on the island, expected to be completed in 2020. Saadiyat Island is expected to become Abu Dhabi's cultural centre, mostly for The island’s Cultural District that is expected to include eight museums designed by architects such as Jean Nouvel, Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.[3]

Alongside this physical infrastructure, the emirate's touristic and cultural authorities are rapidly building a varied calendar of major international cultural, artistic and sporting events, which are placing it firmly on the map when it comes to international exposure. Together, the goal is for these institutions and events to transform Abu Dhabi into a cultural tourist attraction capable of attracting the same high-end clientele as Bilbao, Paris or New York. The centrepiece Of Abu Dhabi's future cultural offering will be the development of Saadiyat Island.[1]

The island is five-minute drive away from downtown Abu Dhabi, 20min from Abu Dhabi International Airport and one hour from Dubai.[4]


The project is being developed by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority-held Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC). The company plans is to dispose of development to private investors that will work on their sites in accordance with the master plan as well as other ground rules.[5][6] The plan for Saadiyat island was done by EDAW and continued under AECOM.

The Island is located 500 meters off the coast of Abu Dhabi. This 27 square kilometer island planned and created around an environmentally-sensitive philosophy and low-density master plan. The main district in the island are Saadiyat Cultural District, Saadiyat Beach District and Saadiyat Marina District.

An entire district on the island is devoted to culture and the arts, with exhibitions, permanent collections, productions and performances.

The TDIC, founded in 2006 is the tourism asset management and development arm of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), in order to drive investment and growth of the Emirate's tourism sector.[7]

Close cooperation[edit]

In developing the island project, the close cooperation model is being followed by TDIC and the government agencies. The government-related entity has been working in cooperation with government agencies such as the Department of Transport to create an integrated project, complete with public amenities, in a relatively short period of time. Such close cooperation reassures smaller, private developers, who follow the GRE by providing smaller-scale works like shops, entertainment venues or real estate developments, which in turn attract a full-time resident community.[1]

Features and services[edit]

The island has several cultural institutions in Saadiyat Cultural District.

The Accommodation Village[edit]

The Saadiyat Accommodation Village is a modern housing community that offers social, recreational and educational facilities for residents. These include multilingual libraries, computer and Internet access, banking facilities, prayer rooms, spacious dining halls, barbershops, food outlets, gymnasiums and a sporting area comprised ofcricket pitches and basketball and tennis courts. The Village was opened in 2009.[8]

Development and labor conditions[edit]

Administrations, exercises and occasions were introduced for inhabitants at the town including a free video-calling administration with private stalls that occupants can use to reconnect with their families and talk in private. On a month to month premise, the town additionally witnesses sports competitions for football, cricket, volleyball and basketball games. For as far back as three years, TDIC has additionally been working intimately with its staff volunteers to offer laborers English classes, with graduates services sorted out to perceive the understudies' accomplishments. These classes are for all specialists and for nothing out of pocket.

The Employment Practices Policy was adopted to ensure the safety and fair treatment of workers on TDIC projects. TDIC hired Pricewaterhouse Coopers, an independent monitoring company, to ensure the implementation of the policy. A dedicated team makes constant visits and interviews at the Accommodation Village and on the site of the projects. The findings are then published annually by TDIC. It allows TDIC to make enhancements, penalize breaches and make sure of sustaining the rights of workers.

Saadiyat is now home to a great many specialists who live on the Island while chipping away at the activities being produced by TDIC. The company needed to ensure specialists are living in respectable conditions, working securely and are being dealt with decently. These 7,500 men from the least privileged countries of southern Asia, namely Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, live and rest in comfortable conditions when they are not working under the Gulf sun on the social ventures of Abu Dhabi: the Louvre Museum, Guggenheim and the Zayed National Museum as well as other projects.

The European Union has sent several delegations to Saadiyat Accommodation Village to meet with representatives from the TDIC.[9]

In May 2009, Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction[10] issued a report accusing the contractors working on Saadiyat Island of violating the rights of workers on the site by charging them fees to obtain their work contracts, paying them less than they were promised, and holding their passports to prevent their resignation or departure.[11] The report also called on western partners (including Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the French Museum Agency, and New York University) to seek contractual assurances that these violations would not continue once construction on facilities for those institutions was underway. The alleged violations of the workers' rights would also constitute violations of United Arab Emirates law.

Proposed districts[edit]

Saadiyat Island, a natural island that is the focus of 27 km2 of development, will be divided into 7 districts (Arabic: منطقة‎‎)[12] which will eventually accommodate over 145,000 people.[13][14]

Saadiyat Cultural District[edit]

Located at the Western end of the island, Saadiyat Cultural District occupies not much more than 10 per cent of the total area of the project.[15]

The Cultural District lies on a total area of 2.43 square kilometres (0.94 sq mi). There are plans to spend 85 million pounds on the following projects:

The cultural district also includes an office park and commercial areas, and residential areas and hotels.


See also: Abu Dhabi Art

The Cultural District will house three major museums: The local Louvre and Guggenheim, as well as the Zayed National Museum. The contract for the Louvre Abu Dhabi was awarded in January 2013 to Arabtec Construction, Oger Abu Dhabi and Constructor San José, and it was scheduled for completion in 2015. The Zayed National Museum, designed by architect Norman Foster of Foster and Partners, was set to open in 2016. The Guggenheim, by Frank Gehry, is slated to open in 2017.[1]

Each of these institutions will represent a significant attraction in its own right. However, the Louvre and the Guggenheim will be the major draws.[17]

Manarat Al Saadiyat (Arabic: منارة السعديات‎‎), the building designed to host temporary taster exhibitions for the planned museums, hosts the Saadiyat Experience, a permanent exhibition that introduces the plans for the development Of Saadiyat Island.[18]

Zayed National Museum[edit]

Zayed National Museum[19] will center on a narrative linking the development of Abu Dhabi to the reign of its ruler (1966-2004) Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and to structures having themes of education, conservation, environmental sustainability, cultural heritage, humanitarianism and faith.[20]

Louvre Abu Dhabi[edit]
A computer-generated image of the Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi will host the collection of the museum, designed by architect Jean Nouvel.[21] ln the case of the former, the Saadiyat development will mark the first time the French government has entered into an international partnership to extend the Louvre overseas.

The local Louvre will mark the first time the French government has entered into an international partnership to extend the Louvre overseas. The 30-year agreement, signed in 2007, will see the loan of some 200–300 artworks over the period of the deal.[17]

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi[edit]

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, designed by Frank Gehry, will display contemporary art and culture items that represent the most important modern artistic achievements.[22] At 30,000 sq metres, it is planned to be the largest of the Guggenheim museums. The museum will join Bilbao, Venice and New York in hosting the prestigious foundation.[17]

Maritime museum[edit]

A maritime museum will be devoted to explaining the maritime ecosystem and heritage of Abu Dhabi and sea-related Emirati professions. The architecture of the museum reflects Emirati construction and decoration. The ceiling of the museum will picture the sky and the sea merging into one another. Wind, as one of the natural factors that shape the history of the UAE in general, will also be pictured. The main part of the project will be an underground basin, a traditional sailboat and the boat "Zayed Memorial", which crossed the Atlantic in 2007 for humanitarian purposes.[23]

Arts center[edit]

The arts center consists of five theaters, an opera house and several arenas for musical concerts. The center also has an experimental theater, the Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Academy with 3.557 square metres of space for educational activities about art, design, music and drama. The center also has shops and restaurants on a surface of 28.692 square metres.


Schools under development include the Redwood Saadiyat Nursery by the first Kids Group, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, and New York University Abu Dhabi by Mubadala Investment Company, providing education from pre-school to university level. The nursery school was set to open in 2013 to accommodate up to 140 children, offering educational and recreational facilities for pre-school education and using the Montessori method.[24]

Saadiyat Marina District[edit]

The Marina, the Island's main commercial area, has a total area of 3.7 square kilometres (1.4 sq mi), berthing for over 1,000 boats, hotels, apartments, leisure and entertainment facilities[25] including the Maritime Museum by Japan's Tadao Ando, commercial and retail space, and the New York University Abu Dhabi campus was planned to move to Saadiyat Marina in 2014 from its provisional campus in downtown Abu Dhabi.[15]

Saadiyat Beach District[edit]

Saadiyat Beach, where Monte Carlo Beach Club has opened, is clearly planned to become an international tourism destination, with nine kilometres of beaches, five-star resorts, golf courses and some residences now proposed for sale.[15] The Beach has a total area of 4.33 square kilometres (1.67 sq mi), nine kilometers of beaches, five-star hotels and resorts, beach clubs, and a Gary Player designed Championship golf course with residential accommodation.

Saadiyat Promenade District[edit]

Saadiyat Promenade (Arabic: ممشى السعديات‎‎) is designed as a family resort, with a total area of 931 square metres (10,020 sq ft), including a beach, boardwalks with restaurants and cafes, leisure and entertainment. It offers a range of 1-bedroom to 4-bedroom apartments and lofts. The residences are within walking distance of the two main museums and the retail destination.[26]

Saadiyat Lagoons District[edit]

Saadiyat Lagoons (Arabic: لجونز السعديات‎‎) has a total area of 3.5 square kilometres (1.4 sq mi), with low-rise waterfront residences, and a tidal lagoon system. Saadiyat Lagoons is clearly planned as upper middle-class housing.[15] In the Grey Mangrove Lagoons is found the only mangrove species that occurs in the UAE and the Gulf region, as it is the only type that thrives in the extreme saline and hot conditions. Mangrove wetlands serve to support a complex aquatic food web as they are populated by a variety of birds and marine fauna.[27]

Saadiyat Retreat District[edit]

The Saadiyat Retreat has a total area of 750 square metres (8,100 sq ft), with hotels and residences. It hosts the Jumeirah Saadiyat Island Resort.[28] One of the seven districts on the master plan, as pointed out by TDIC director of infrastructure Andrew Seymour, the district covers a 750,000m2 plot at the north-eastern point of the island, and will be free of high rise construction. Saadiyat Retreat will be home to luxury waterside homes and boutique-style hotels.[29]

Saadiyat Reserves District[edit]

The Reserves has a total area of 4.68 square kilometres (1.81 sq mi), with a "tidal golf course"[30] by designer Trent Jones II, and low-rise waterside residences. The tidal golf course is constructed in such a way that its landscape changes regularly throughout the golf playing time.[30]

Primary contractors[edit]

The primary contractors for the island are Al Jaber for Villa and HILALCO for Road and Infrastructures.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Oxford Business Group (25 March 2014). The Report: Abu Dhabi 2014. Oxford Business Group. ISBN 978-1-907065-97-2. 
  2. ^ Karen Exell (10 March 2016). Modernity and the Museum in the Arabian Peninsula. Routledge. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-317-27901-3. 
  3. ^ "Saadiyat Island Home to Guggenheim and Louvre Museums". Retrieved 2016-08-09. 
  4. ^ "About Saadiyat Island Abu Dhabi - Project by TDIC". Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  5. ^ "Abu Dhabi to Build Gehry-Designed Guggenheim Museum". The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. July 8, 2006. 
  6. ^ "Saadiyat in Numbers". 
  7. ^ "Overview - About Us - TDIC". 
  8. ^ "Welfare". 
  9. ^ "EU delegates 'positive' about Saadiyat workers' living space". 
  10. ^ "A New Art Capital, Finding Its Own Voice". The New York Times. 7 December 2014. 
  11. ^ UAE: Exploited Workers Building ‘Island of Happiness’.
  12. ^ "منطقة لجونز السعديات". Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  13. ^ "About Saadiyat Island Abu Dhabi - Project by TDIC". Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  14. ^ "Tourism Development & Investment Company. EPP compliance monitoring report to the corporate social responsibility committee. Annual summary of findings, September 2012" (PDF). 
  15. ^ a b c d Steffen Wippel; Katrin Bromber; Birgit Krawietz (17 February 2016). Under Construction: Logics of Urbanism in the Gulf Region. Routledge. pp. 179–. ISBN 978-1-317-00529-2. 
  16. ^ "Saadiyat -Louvre Abu Dhabi". Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  17. ^ a b c Özlem Sandıkcı; Gillian Rice (1 January 2011). Handbook of Islamic Marketing. Edward Elgar Publishing. pp. 450–. ISBN 978-0-85793-602-8. 
  18. ^ Karen Exell (10 March 2016). Modernity and the Museum in the Arabian Peninsula. Routledge. pp. 63–. ISBN 978-1-317-27901-3. 
  19. ^ "Zayed National Museum". 
  20. ^ Karen Exell (10 March 2016). Modernity and the Museum in the Arabian Peninsula. Routledge. pp. 76–. ISBN 978-1-317-27901-3. 
  21. ^ Laurence Des Cars (2013). Louvre Abu Dhabi: Birth of a Museum. Abu Dhabi tourism & culture authority. ISBN 978-2-08-020166-9. 
  22. ^ "About Us". Guggenheim. Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
  23. ^ "Saadiyat Cultural District". 
  24. ^ "Redwood nursery school to open on Saadiyat Island". GulfNews. Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
  25. ^ "saadiyat-marina-district". Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
  26. ^ "Mamsha Al Saadiyat Beach Residence Apartments Abu Dhabi:". Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  27. ^ "Saadiyat's Mangrove Lagoons – a unique ecosystem". Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  28. ^ "Jumeirah signs $235m Saadiyat Island resort deal". Retrieved 2016-08-09. 
  29. ^ "Saadiyat: The vision is becoming reality". United Arab Emirates - Construction - Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  30. ^ a b "World's first tidal golf course planned". The National. Retrieved 2016-08-09. 
  31. ^ "Saadiyat Island". Abu Dhabi - Information Portal. Retrieved 2016-08-09. 

External links[edit]