The new National Museum has been opened in the Emirate of Qatar in March 2019. The spectacular building by Frenchman Jean Nouvel is intended to evoke associations with a desert rose. The architect explains that he was looking for a symbol for the National Museum – to evoke Qatar’s heritage and future – and considers his design to embody both.

The ring-shaped building comprising 53,000 square meters of floor space and rising up to a height of 40 m is sited directly next to the historic palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, the former Emir of Qatar. This landmark has been redesigned and integrated into the museum as the central exhibition location.

The tilted discs and panels which form the museum’s floors, walls and roofs consist of a steel framework structure with sand-coloured concrete facing on the outside. The cavities between the discs and panels are glazed.

Qatar is in the midst of a construction boom as it prepares to stage football’s World Cup in 2022. As part of an ambitious cultural development program, the museum is intended to attract worldwide attention and to provide a link between the emirate’s past, present and future. The National Museum houses exhibitions which relate Qatar’s development from its distant geological history up to its present-day cosmopolitan incarnation. In addition to the permanent exhibition, it also houses temporary exhibition rooms, an auditorium, a forum, a research centre, offices, shops and cafés.

The sand-coloured, polished concrete floor inside harmonizes with the walls. These feature a traditional gypsum and lime plaster finish which is reminiscent of stone. The plain interior continues into the sanitary rooms featuring washbasins and toilets from the Starck 3 range. Developed by Philippe Starck with a focus on semi-public and public areas, these products meet the highest standards of design and functionality.

Design:   Ateliers Jean Nouvel
Location: Doha, Qatar


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