Qatar Desert Rose
Jean Nouvel
Doha, Qatar

Inspired by the whimsical crystal forms of desert roses, the museum uses its formal expressiveness to establish a link between the Bedouin culture and global modernity. An organic system of intersected disks stretches around the ancient Amiri Palace, creating an undulating itinerary in its interior: a journey through the past, the present, and the future of the country. The National Museum of Qatar is an example of the architect’s support of structural innovation as a response to the search for formal identity. The building has ap- proximately 40,000 m2 of covered area and is surrounded by a park of 112,000 m2 that reinterprets the desert landscape of Qatar. Located at the south end of Doha Corniche waterfront promenade, the museum is the first monument visitors see upon arrival at the New Doha International Airport; the building is thus set to become the welcome image to Qatar. 


The structure consists of a series of disks of spherical section with different diameters and variable curvatures. The vertical disks are the support of the project and transmit the rest of loads from the horizontal planes to the base. In the interstices between them appear the glasses with the embedded mullions, so that from the outside they appear to be frameless. The design is a response to local climate: large overhangs provide shaded spaces, concrete and vegetation are native, and the thermal buffer zones within the disk cavities create thermal mass reducing cooling loads.

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