Taking inspiration from the desert rose, French architect Jean Nouvel has planned a design for the new National Museum of Qatar. Unveiled at MoMA in New York City on Wednesday, the design balances the Qatari culture and traditions with sustainability and modernization. Situated on a 1.5 million-SF site at the south end of Doha’s Corniche, the structure comprises of a series of interlocking discs of varying dimensions and curvatures, which will form walls, ceilings, floors and terraces.
The beautiful tilting, interpenetrating disks looks as if growing from the ground and suggest the bladelike petals of the desert rose. It will consist of an 86,000 square feet of permanent gallery space, 21,500 square feet of temporary gallery space, a 220-seat auditorium, a 70-seat food forum / TV studio, 2 cafes, a restaurant and a museum shop. The green features that the National Museum of Qatar seeking the LEED silver rating flaunt are thermal buffer zones within the disk cavities to cool the structure, locally sourced and fabricated steel and cement, the overhanging disks offering shade to the outdoor path and protecting the interior from light and heat and low-water consuming sparse native vegetation.
The complete walls will behave like cinematic displays and shelter oral-history presentations. The museum is a modern-day caravanserai, which is the traditional enclosed resting place, supporting the flow of commerce, information and people across desert trade route. Each disc will be made of a steel truss structure clad in glass-reinforced concrete and the voids between discs will be glazed. Deep, disk-shaped sun-breaker elements will take the responsibility of filtering sunlight.