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Starchitect Sultanate for Goog’s Krens

Finds himself in desert.


When Thomas Krens resigned as director of the Guggenheim Foundation last month, critics sniped that his new “senior adviser” role, overseeing a planned Frank Gehry–designed branch in Abu Dhabi, was a polite way of putting him out to pasture. Turns out it’s quite a pasture: Krens is “the moving force” behind the entire Saadiyat Island Cultural District, Abu Dhabi’s director general of tourism, Mubarak Hamad Al Muhairi, announced last week. Starchitects Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, and Tadao Ando are also building on the island. Krens needs to get them moving; because of problems with local contrac-tors and the architects’ perfectionism, the project is running late. Krens, visiting the international Art Dubai fair, said, “I’ll be in control until the ribbon-cutting.”

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