The Qatar Museums Authority has engaged Pritzker prize-winning architect, Jean Nouvel, to design a new National Museum that will preserve the original palace while creating an unprecedented 21st century institution celebrating the culture, heritage and future of Qatar and its people. The museum is presently closed during construction with an anticipated reopening in late 2013.
above left: the old National Museum Of Qatar and right, incorporating the old into the new in Nouvel's design
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.
above: a model of the proposed museum, now under construction
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.
above: Jean Nouvel's concept drawing
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.
Here are the computer generated images (by Artefactory) of the amazing and unusual looking new National Museum Of Qatar.
The Caravanserai Courtyard:
West view from Doha Bay:
Architect Jean Nouvel:
Commenting on his design, Jean Nouvel stated, “This museum is a modern-day caravanserai. From here you leave the desert behind, returning with treasured images that remain engraved on your memory. The National Museum of Qatar will become the voice of a culture, delivering a message of modernity, metamorphosis and the beauty that happens when the desert meets the sea.”
Details of the Building
The National Museum of Qatar building will provide 86,000 square feet of permanent gallery space, 21,500 square feet of temporary gallery space, a 220-seat auditorium, a 70-seat food forum / TV studio, two cafés, a restaurant and a museum shop. Separate facilities are provided for school groups and special guests. Staff facilities include a heritage research center, restoration laboratories, staff offices and collection processing and storage areas. The Museum will be surrounded by a 1.2 million-square-foot landscaped park that interprets a Qatari desert landscape.
above: North side entrance
Inspired by the desert rose, the interlocking disks that compose the building—some of them standing more or less upright and acting as support elements, others lying more or less horizontal—are of varying curvature and diameter. The disks are made of steel truss structures assembled in a hub-and-spoke arrangement and are clad in glass fiber reinforced concrete panels. Columns concealed within the vertical disks carry the loads of the horizontal disks to the ground.
Glazed facades fill the voids between disks. Perimeter mullions are recessed into the ceiling, floor and walls, giving the glazing a frameless appearance when viewed from the outside. Deep disk-shaped sun-breaker elements filter incoming sunlight.
Like the exterior, the interior is a landscape of interlocking disks. Floors are sand-colored polished concrete, while the vertical disk walls are clad in “stuc-pierre,” a traditional gypsum- and lime-blended plaster formulated to imitate stone.
Thermal buffer zones within the disk cavities will reduce cooling loads, while the deep overhangs of the disks will create cool, shady areas for outdoor promenades and protect the interior from light and heat. Steel and concrete, the main materials of the building, will be locally sourced and/or fabricated. The landscaping will feature sparse native vegetation with low water consumption. Through these and other sustainability measures, the Museum is working to achieve a USGBC LEED Silver rating.
The Museum’s gardens are specifically designed for the intense climate of Qatar. Plantings will include native grasses and indigenous plants, such as pomegranate trees, date palms, herbs and the Sidra tree, the national tree of Qatar. Landscaping will feature sand dunes and stepped garden architecture to create sitting areas and spaces for the Museum’s programs of tours and garden lectures.
Information about museum and building details courtesy of Qatar Museum Authority
Qatar is a peninsula located in the Persian Gulf.
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