Qatar Is Becoming an Art Powerhouse and Its New National Museum Proves It
Tasked with creating a multi-layered, experiential museum that engages its visitors and invigorates the senses, Nouvel sought inspiration in the “desert rose,” a flower-like formation that occurs when minerals crystalize in the soil just below the surface of a salt basin. Its “the first architectural structure that nature itself creates,” Nouvel has noted.
To bring to life these intricate formations, the visionary crafted a series of 539 large, interlocking white disks of varying sizes and shapes, some set horizontally to form waterside viewpoints, others slightly tilted or cantilevered on another circle to provide natural shade in the desert heat. All are strewn around a restored landmark 1906 palace (now the culmination point of the galleries) and a central courtyard that will host cultural events. Its all the result of “enormous technical challenges,” says Nouvel, adding that “this building is at the cutting edge of technology, like Qatar itself.”