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Pascall + Watson disbands Abu Dhabi Louvre team

London-based Pascall + Watson has disbanded a team of architects set to work on the delayed Louvre Abu Dhabi scheme

The company does not expect work on the gallery to move ahead this year so has moved staff to new projects in Saudi Arabia.

Pascall + Watson was appointed by French company Ateliers Jean Nouvel as executive architect on the Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2009.

Turnover dropped from £19 million in 2010 to £16.3 million in 2011

But the Abu Dhabi Tourism Development & Investment Company said in October 2011 that the delivery timetable for the Saadiyat Island scheme, which includes the Louvre and a Guggenheim, would be extended due to workloads.

Pascall + Watson managing director Phil Holden told AJ this week: ‘A team was mobilised for site supervision but the project went on hold.

‘We had to keep a team standing by as we kept being told it was about to restart. But we can see no evidence that it is likely to progress in the next 12 months so we have moved them on to other projects in the region.’

The firm has won schemes in Jeddah and Medinah, which are being designed using both the Abu Dhabi and London offices.

Pascall + Watson saw turnover drop from £19 million in 2010 to £16.3 million in 2011. Profit fell from £1.00 million to £0.76 million in the same period.

However, the practice’s overseas turnover grew from £8.1 million to £8.8 million as it capitalised on opportunities abroad while the UK market suffered.

‘The overseas market is becoming increasingly important,’ said Holden.

He said he expected an even tougher year for the aviation specialist in 2012 as the global economy continued to squeeze the construction industry.

‘There are some big airport plans out there but they take a long time coming to fruition,’ he said.

TDIC said in a statement about the Saadiyat Cultural District in October 2011: ‘TDIC’s initial plan was to open all these museums between 2013-2014; however, due to the immense magnitude of the work associated with the development of such consequential projects, the company has decided to extend the delivery dates.

‘This will ensure that quality is not compromised, and allow each establishment the time needed to create its own identity on the local and international cultural stage.’

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