Saadiyat Island is the United Arab Emirates’ future international cultural capitol. By 2020, it will be home to the Louvre Abu Dhabi (designed by French architect Jean Nouvel), the Zayed National Museum (by London’s Foster + Partners) and the largest Guggenheim Museum yet at 450,000 sq. ft. (by, guess who, Canadian-born Frank Gehry). Iraqi-British Zaha Hadid will design a Performing Arts Centre, South African Gary Player designed a championship golf course, and a less obviously big brand team in Brooklyn (Marble Fairbanks) is designing the NYU-AD campus.
Chances are students will not have to caddy their way through school, nor will they vie for summer construction jobs with the 40,000 “locals” who travel from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other South Asian countries to work on the $22 billion construction scene. Several of these construction sites are under scrutiny by Human Rights Watch as workers claim they are being paid far less than they were promised, while their passports are being held to prevent their departure.