Dubai builds new opera house and modern art museum

by admin on July 20, 2012

in Lifestyle

Post image for Dubai builds new opera house and modern art museum

The new arts complex in the shadow of Burj Khalifa is intended to put Dubai on the world’s cultural stage

The Dubai Government is building an opera house and a modern art museum in a bid to become the “cultural hub of the UAE region”. The new arts complex will be built in the shadow of the spectacular and iconic Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower.

The ‘Dubai Modern Art Museum and Opera House District,’ in Emaar’s Downtown Dubai area revives plans made in 2008 for a series of cultural projects, including libraries, theatres, museums and an opera house. Part of the ambitious 2008 plan was for a dune-shaped opera house and cultural centre designed by British architect Zaha Hadid and built on an island in Dubai Creek. None of the projects came to fruition because of the global financial collapse.

The new arts centre project is a square, glass-enclosed structure on the edge of a man-made lake in the Emaar downtown shopping and residential district. The arts complex will include an opera house, modern art museum, art galleries, two hotels and residential housing.

World-class cultural events

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed said: “The cultural accomplishments of a nation define its character and individuality. Having demonstrated our credentials in hosting world-class cultural events, the UAE has established itself as a thriving destination for culture and the arts. We will continue to strengthen the infrastructure framework for promoting cultural initiatives, through projects such as the ‘Dubai Modern Art Museum & Opera House District.’ This will not only encourage our talented local artists but also facilitate global cultural exchange.”

The decision to build the Dubai arts complex will add to the vibrant cultural life in the region. Dubai already has more than 50 art galleries and art showcases such as Art Dubai, Design Days Dubai and SIKKA.

In addition, the Gulf Arab region is home to Muscat’s Royal Opera House, which houses the Royal Oman Symphony, and the Qatar Opera House.

Abu Dhabi, meanwhile, is building a huge cultural complex on Saadiyat Island, which will host branches of the Guggenheim, the Louvre and Zayed National Museum. The completion date of this project, however, has been pushed back a few years.

Design masterpiece

The Dubai Government has claimed that the ‘Dubai Modern Art Museum & Opera House District,’ will be a “design masterpiece”. There will be plazas, high streets, shaded colonnades, courtyards, sikkas, alleyways, waterfront promenades and parks.

It is intended that the complex will be a magnet for tourists in Downtown Dubai. They will be able to combine shopping trips with cultural enlightenment. The 3.5m-long Emaar Boulevard, home of the new arts district, has a lot of retail outlets. The waterfront promenade gives uninterrupted views of The Dubai Fountain, the world’s tallest performing fountain.

The investment in high culture is also good news for investors in Dubai. It is further evidence that Dubai has bounced back strongly from the financial crisis of 2008, and has the confidence to invest in its own future. The effect on the already burgeoning tourist industry should be significant.

This should spark interest in the many new hotel developments, such as The First Group’s two luxury hotel apartment projects in Tecom, Metro Central and Grand Central, which are situated in the bustling business district of Tecom in the heart of “New Dubai”. The luxury end of the market did particularly well in 2011, soaring 17.6 per cent.

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