The museum was planned, at 30,000 square meters, to be the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s largest facility. It was designed to accommodate approximately 12,000 square meters of exhibition space.
Gehry’s design features exhibition galleries, education and research space, a conservation laboratory, a center for contemporary Arab, Islamic and Middle Eastern culture, and a center for “art and technology.” Inspired by traditional middle-eastern covered courtyards and wind towers, used to cool structures exposed to the desert sun, the museum’s clusters of horizontal and vertical galleries of various sizes are connected by catwalks and planned around a central, covered courtyard, incorporating natural features intended to maximize the energy efficiency of the building. The largest galleries will offer a grand scale for the display of large contemporary art installations.
Parts of the building will be four stories tall with galleries stacked atop each other. The museum was intended to be a centerpiece in the island’s plan for contemporary art and culture.”