National Museum of Qatar

Unlike other Gulf countries, Qatar seems to pay more attention to the connection with tradition, both visually and in public tradition. The Qatari people do not want to lose their historical memory and cultural thinking of the sea and desert under the rapid development mode, and the new Qatar National Museum, which was completed in 2019, is the best embodiment.

The Qatar National Museum, designed by Jean Nouvel, a Pulitzer Prize winner, is built on the edge of the Doha Corniche in Doha, covering an area of 40000 square meters. Jean Nouvel said: "Everything in this museum is to let tourists feel the desert and sea". The New York Times once commented that "Jean Nouvel tried to bridge the gap between the western high-tech aesthetics and the Middle East tradition".

The most conspicuous part of the museum is its appearance. The laminated white circular plates made of steel, glass and fiber concrete are inspired by a crystalline mineral called "Desert Rose" in the desert ("Desert Rose" is composed of minerals such as crystalline sand found in the salt water layer under the surface of the desert, which is named for its rose shape). They overlap and spread layer by layer in the desert, and "bloom" in the most severe environment. Peggy Loar, curator of the Qatar National Museum, once said: "Young people drive SUVs into the desert and no longer live there. They are losing contact with culture". So if you look at it from another perspective, when the thin slices of "desert roses" are connected one by one, they are like tents, as if they can lead people through the ancient times and retrieve the imagination of caravans and temporary shelters on the way to trade in the desert, reminding the viewer that the desert is the original origin.

The unparalleled immersive experience is my biggest feeling about the new Qatar National Museum. As soon as you enter the museum, there is a 1.5-kilometer-long winding gallery exhibition hall. Through a series of unique and all-inclusive environments, visitors are led into a journey, vividly interpreting the stories belonging to Qatar from architectural space, music, poetry, oral history, smell, archaeological relics, paintings, sports, memorial art films, etc.

The National Museum of Qatar is divided into three chapters: "Origin", "Living in Qatar" and "Contemporary History of Qatar". It has 11 exhibition halls, which tell people how Qatar has developed from a peninsula millions of years ago to a modern and diversified international city today from various fields such as nature, geography, animals, people, pearl industry and fishery, cultural history, life art, and so on.

Numerous projections, oral historical documentaries, archive photos, maps, texts, models, and digital learning centers focus on visual and sensory interaction in all directions, making people seem to shuttle through a long and rich cultural and historical evolution. At the same time, the New National Museum also shows the good ideals of the Qatari people, hoping to promote exploration, creativity and community exchanges, provide diverse educational opportunities for the local people, and further promote the cultural vision of the Qatari country to the international stage.

Therefore, no matter what angle you look at the new Qatar Museum, no matter how you interpret it, it represents Qatar. Compared with discussing "what I am doing", a modern building that combines traditional cultural elements and humanistic concerns explains that "who I am" is the spiritual gene of Qatari people.

Original image and text of the article: Skaey