Buro Happold will work with the architect, France’s Jean Nouvel, on the schematic design of the museum, which is due to open in 2012. Construction is expected to start in the first quarter of 2007.

The museum is one of five cultural institutions planned for Saadiyat island’s cultural district. The others are the Sheikh Zayed National Museum, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum, a performing arts centre and a maritime museum.

Planning for the Louvre Abu Dhabi follows a 30-year cultural accord sealed in 2007 between the governments of Abu Dhabi and France.

The local Tourism Development & Investment Company is the client (MEED 7:1:08).