A Look at the “Desert Rose” That is National Museum of Qatar

The latest completed project by acclaimed French architect Jean Nouvel—who was also behind the Louvre Abu Dhabi—is intended as a “modern-day caravanserai” where “everything works to make the visitor feel the desert and the sea.”

Its design was inspired by a desert rose.

It was the organic form of the desert rose, a flowerlike crystal aggregate that “blooms” in arid conditions, that inspired the interlocking concrete discs on the National Museum of Qatar, a soon-to-open (and much-delayed) landmark beside Doha’s seafront Corniche.

The latest completed project by acclaimed French architect Jean Nouvel—who was also behind the Louvre Abu Dhabi—is intended as a “modern-day caravanserai” where “everything works to make the visitor feel the desert and the sea.” Nouvel designed the museum around the 19th-century palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani, a former emir, to create a unique juxtaposition of past and present.

While the onetime royal residence takes pride of place as a central exhibit, the 8,000-square-meter permanent galleries document the nomadic origins of the Qatari people as well as the region’s maritime history, with a special focus on dhows. Beyond the exhibition spaces, visitors will find an auditorium, a landscaped park planted with indigenous flora, and a 70-seat food forum aimed at preserving the nation’s culinary traditions.

More information here.

This article originally appeared in the December 2018/January 2019 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Late Bloomer”).

 

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