QATAR MUSEUMS AUTHORITY UNVEILS JEAN NOUVEL DESIGN AND MULTIFACETED EXHIBITIONS PROGRAM FOR THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF QATAR

. March 25, 2010

Marking the next stage of its program to develop Qatar into a hub of culture and communications for the Gulf region and the world, the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) today revealed its plans for the new National Museum of Qatar, as expressed in a striking and evocative design by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel.


National Museum of Qatar Image by Artefactory. ©Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Embodying the pride and traditions of Qatar’s people while offering international visitors a dialogue about rapid change and modernization, the National Museum of Qatar will be the setting for a program in which entire walls become cinematic displays, “sonorous cocoons” shelter oral-history presentations and hand-held mobile devices guide visitors through thematic displays of the collection’s treasures. Though built around an historic structure, the Fariq Al Salatah Palace, which had served as a museum of heritage since 1975, the National Museum of Qatar is conceived and designed as a thoroughly new institution, in keeping with the high aspirations that animate QMA.

Jean Nouvel’s design manifests both the active, dynamic aspect of the Museum’s program and its crystallization of the Qatari identity, in a building that, like a desert rose, appears to grow out of the ground and be one with it. Prominently located on a 1.5 million-square-foot site at the south end of Doha’s Corniche, where it will be the first monument seen by travelers arriving from the airport, the building takes the form of a ring of low-lying, interlocking pavilions, which encircle a large courtyard area and encompass 430,000 square feet of indoor space. In its organization, the building suggests the image of a caravanserai—the traditional enclosed resting place that supported the flow of commerce, information and people across desert trade routes—and so gives concrete expression to the identity of a nation in movement. The tilting, interpenetrating disks that define the pavilions’ floors, walls and roofs, clad on the exterior in sand-colored concrete, suggest the bladelike petals of the desert rose, a mineral formation of crystallized sand found in the briny layer just beneath the desert’s surface.

“The National Museum of Qatar is the next world-class institution that QMA is creating for our people and for our international community,” stated Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Chairperson, Qatar Museums Authority. “Following the very successful opening in 2008 of the Museum of Islamic Art, which showcases an artistic tradition that spans half the globe, we now look to Qatar’s immediate culture and environment—physical and immaterial, historic and contemporary. With this newest project, announced in the year when Doha is the Capital of Arab Culture, we move closer to realizing QMA’s vision of building a forward-looking, sustainable Qatar.”

www.qma.com.qa

Category: Architecture

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