Arabian "Guggenheim" to have magnificent glass features

Qatar is set to open its answer to Bilbaos Guggenheim museum as part of £100 billion plans to put the United Arab Emirates on the cultural map.

Chinese-American architect IM Pei, world renowned for designing the Louvres glass pyramid, designed the museum as his final work.

Built on a reclaimed island to guard against the threat of encroachment from other buildings, The Museum of Islamic Art is a 400,000 sq ft limestone colossus with Islamic geometric patterning and traditional Arabic arched windows.

A major feature of the design is the 150 ft-high illuminated glass curtain wall inside the atrium, which looks out over the emerald sea.

Head of Abu Dhabis tourism authority Mubarak Hamad al-Muhairi said the museum will act as an interchange for culture between the Middle East and the West.

"We are creating the Louvre Arabia, the Guggenheim Arabia — not the Louvre or the Guggenheim in Arabia," he told The Guardian.

"There will be works from the collections of both museums, of course, but there will be curators and works of art from here, from Tehran, from Egypt, from Syria, from Morocco.

"We are bringing the West to the Middle East, but also showcasing the Middle East to the West."

The museum will open in November.