Abu Dhabi awards $136m deal for revamp of historic building

Department of Culture and Tourism hires firm for refurb of Cultural Foundation Building at Qasr Al Hosn
Abu Dhabi awards $136m deal for revamp of historic building
By Staff writer
Fri 27 Oct 2017 09:17 AM

The Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) in Abu Dhabi has awarded to Zublin Construction a AED500 million ($136 million) contract for the refurbishment and conservation of the Cultural Foundation Building at Qasr Al Hosn, the symbolic birthplace of the capital of the UAE.

The Cultural Foundation Building at the site has come to symbolise Abu Dhabi's accelerated cultural progress in recent years, having been the home to the city’s first library, exhibition hall and theatre.

It can claim to be the first modern era cultural building in Abu Dhabi and its opening in 1981 was marked a significant step in the creation of the city of today, state news agency WAM reported.

Now, with the award of the contract, the 23,000 sq m building will undergo extensive refurbishment and upgrading, it added.
Work will include the reintroduction of a library, creation of exhibition spaces, the opening of a theatre designed to seat 900, as well as learning and workshops facilities, and food and beverage areas.

Work on the site has already started, with shoring, excavation and the installation of working piles for the car parks already complete, WAM said.

Saif Saeed Ghobash, director-general of DCT, said: "Because of its historical, social, architectural, symbolic and urban significance, the Cultural Foundation Building has taken its rightful place as one of the major achievements of the emerging nation of the UAE."

Ghobash added: "Having more scope to demonstrate our rich culture and traditions to guests means visitor footfall to the UAE will rise, and this has a related and positive impact on our hospitality, travel and retail sectors."

The new contract brings the total investment in the project to more than AED700 million. The wider project takes in the Qasr Al Hosn Fort, which was the first permanent structure built in Abu Dhabi and housed the ruling Al Nahyan family for generations.

As work on the cultural foundation begins, the restoration of the fort nears completion.

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