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Starchitecture in the Arab Emirates: Fierce or Flop? You Decide!

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Photos: NYT

This weekend, The New York TImes architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff took an in-depth look at five starchitect-designed museum projects set in the Arab emirates of Qatar and Abu Dhabi. Some of contemporary architecture's top brands—I.M. Pei, Frank Gehry, Norman Foster, and Jean Nouvel—were enlisted to fashion a cultural legacy from scratch. Such projects don't come cheap. Gehry's Guggenheim offshoot in Abu Dhabi has an estimated cost of $800M, while the adjacent Louvre annex by Nouvel is somewhere in the $500M range, not including the $1.3B payoff to France as part of an "art-borrowing agreement." Big numbers, indeed, but surely someone must be crowned champion of the commission, dominator of the desert, earl of the Emirates. That's where you come in. Take good long look at the gallery above or go straight to the source to watch the interviews, then crown one—or none at all—your favorite:

Poll results

· Building Museums, and a Fresh Arab Identity [NYT]
· Blueprints for the Middle East: Two Cities, Four Architects [NYT, video]