The National Museum of Qatar
The National Museum of Qatar emerges from a desert that has ventured all the way to the sea. On the site, the Royal Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani rises up, a twentieth-century landmark of major heritage value to Qatar.
The 430,000 square foot (40,000 m²) museum is made up of interlocking discs that create cavities to protect visitors from the desert heat. Located on a 1.5 million ft² site at the south end of Doha's Corniche, the NMoQ building rises from the sea and is connected to the shore by two pedestrian bridges and a road bridge.
The historic palace was restored by Berlin-based architecture and engineering firm ZRS Architekten Ingenieure. This important monument to Qatar's past is now preserved as the heart of the new NMoQ.The relation between the new building and the old building is part of creating the bridge between the past and the present advocated by Sheikha Al Mayassa as a way to "define ourselves instead of forever being defined by others […]" and of "celebrating our identity".
The National Museum is dedicated to the history of Qatar. Symbolically, its architecture evokes the desert, its silent and eternal dimension, but also the spirit of modernity and daring that have come along and shaken up what seemed unshakeable. So, it’s the contradictions in that history that I’ve sought to evoke here.