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French culture minister tours Saadiyat Island

posted on 01/06/2010: 975 views

Frederic Mitterrand, French Minister of Culture and Communication and a delegation accompanying him toured today Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island. They were welcomed by Tourism Development '&' Investment Company (TDIC), the master developer of tourism, cultural and residential destinations in Abu Dhabi.

The French delegation included Marc Ladreit de Lacherriere, President of Agence France-Museums; Henri Loyrette, Director of Louvre Museum; and Alain Azouaou, French Ambassador to the UAE.

The tour began at Manarat Al Saadiyat visitor's centre, where the delegation was briefed on the various facilities being developed on the island. They then visited the Louvre Abu Dhabi construction site in Saadiyat Island Cultural District and explored the progress on the project which will be completed in 2013. The delegation also viewed the mock-up dome of this world-class museum, which has been setup to test the play of light and shadows on the site prior to fabrication of the final structure.

The tour concluded with a visit to the Saadiyat Island Construction Village to view the high living standards provided by TDIC for the island's construction workers.

Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of TDIC, commented: "We are pleased to welcome His Excellency the Minister and the French delegation to Saadiyat Island and to brief them on the work progress of the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the other museums being built on the island".

The Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by Pritzker prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, will be the first universal museum in the Middle East and with piling works in progress will be complete in 2013.

Mitterrand, commented: "I feel there is a lot of faith in the future of Saadiyat Island. I am so impressed to see a development as important as the Louvre Abu Dhabi moving ahead on schedule. The mock-up dome is wonderful, the use of light and shadow is very impressive. It is exactly what Jean Nouvel hopes to achieve, fusing traditional Arabian designs with modern architecture".

The visit to Saadiyat Island Construction Village was an opportunity for the French officials to meet Louvre Abu Dhabi's construction workers and explore the quality housing standards and associated facilities.

The Saadiyat Island Construction Village is a 21-hectare site which currently houses 5,000 workers, and will eventually be home to up to 20,000 as construction progresses. The accommodation blocks are built around a communal recreational facility which includes a dining hall, library, games room, Internet cafe, supermarket, prayer halls, gymnasium and TV rooms. In terms of outdoor recreation, the Saadiyat Construction Village features numerous facilities including multipurpose courts for basketball, volleyball and badminton, and a four-hectare, floodlit, multi-purpose grassed sports field for cricket and football. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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