Shaped like two parallel sand dunes – smooth and curvaceous on the windward side, steep and rippled on the eroded side – this award-winning building by Sir Norman Foster and partners was designed for the 2010 Shanghai Expo and then relocated here. Along with neighbouring Manarat Al Saadiyat, its major role since arriving on Saadiyat has been to host Abu Dhabi Art. In 2018 the building was closed, undergoing refurbishment to become a cultural centre, with an expected reopening date of 2020.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Abu Dhabi attractions

1. Manarat Al Saadiyat

0.03 MILES

Housed in a postmodern building with an eye-catching honeycomb mantle, Manarat Al Saadiyat ('place of enlightenment') hosts regular art courses and…

2. NYUAD Art Gallery

1.18 MILES

If you're a fan of cutting-edge art, the temporary art exhibitions held here, in the art gallery of New York University's Abu Dhabi campus, focus on…

3. Louvre Abu Dhabi

1.26 MILES

Designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Jean Nouvel, the highly anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi finally arrived in late 2017. Through 12 galleries, the…

4. Saadiyat Public Beach

1.44 MILES

By far Abu Dhabi's nicest public beach. A boardwalk leads through a protected zone of coastal vegetation, home to nesting turtles, to this prime slice of…

5. Saadiyat Beach Club

2.62 MILES

This luxurious, exclusive beach club, spa and fitness centre is open to day visitors and offers an expanse of pristine beach with plenty of sun-loungers…

6. Abu Dhabi Global Market Square

2.88 MILES

If you're into modern architecture, this development's cluster of glass-and-steel office monoliths on Al Maryah Island is the heart of Abu Dhabi's new…

7. Al Maryah Island Promenade

2.93 MILES

This 5.4km-long promenade bends gently round the western shore of Al Maryah Island and offers good views of Abu Dhabi and the busy channel of water in…

8. Al Mina Fish Market

3.02 MILES

This large fish market bustles with traders selling row upon colourful row of the sea's bounty from the ice bars. It's busiest early in the day when…