National Museum of Qatar by Jean Nouvel

Jean Nouvel is a world renowned French architect who is a force to reckon with in the world of modern architecture. He proposed his plans for the National Museum of Qatar in 2010. The plans were approved by the Qatar government and the project took off in 2011. An estimated 434 million dollars were allocated for this project which is still under construction and is set for completion and opening in 2016.

Jean Nouvel has stated that he intends for the museum to convey a message,

modern architecture sets to bring out the beauty that results when the sea and the desert meet

As such, he has been able to preserve the rich culture of the Middle East yet at the same time, give it a touch of modern architecture. By employing a touch of both worlds, an influx in cultural exchange between the Middle East and the West is expected.

The museum is located in Qatar’s capital- Doha. It boasts of a huge area of 1.5 million square-feet with 430000 square-feet of indoor space. A 1.2 million square-foot area of park space has also been set out.

The museum is set to accommodate: galleries, an auditorium, a research centre, a park rich with indigenous plants, retail outlets, a food forum, restaurants, cafes and much more.

The architectural design borrows from the “rose of the sand” concept. To really appreciate the phenomena of the building an aerial view is highly recommended. The building appears to be like a desert rose growing out of the ground. This beauty of this concept can only really be appreciated by the people who spent enough time in this area.

The building is made up of a large number of discs. These discs mimic the rose concept and are inter-locked in both vertical and horizontal fashion. This provides both support and aesthetic value which provides a rich spatial experience. The discs are made of steel, reinforced in concrete and glass fibres. The vertical discs house reinforced columns and are engineered to bear the weight of the horizontal discs thus dissipating that weight to the ground.

The same external concept is employed on the interior as well. The interlocking discs however, are made of a traditional Qatari, gypsum material and a plaster that is blended with lime to make the interior resemble stone.

The main materials for the entire project are steel and concrete. These materials have mainly been sourced locally or modified accordingly.

A perfectly manicured landscape will make up the gardens and the park. The gardens have been made to withstand the harsh desert climate of Qatar. Some of the plants include: the national tree of Qatar, pomegranate trees, date palms and a variety of indigenous plants and grasses. The landscape will incorporate the beautiful sand dunes of the desert. The garden will also boast of keen and detailed architecture that will see sitting spaces created.

Through this project, Jean Nouvel has provided a platform where modern architecture meets the rich culture of the Middle East. This is through his intricacy and appreciation of culture and heritage.