Qatar Announces It Will Build the World’s Largest Museum of Orientalist Art Along With Two Other Starchitect-Designed Institutions
Museums for modern and contemporary art, Orientalist art, and cars will augment the country's bustling cultural lineup.
More than 15 years after Qatar embarked on an ambitious museum-building program from the ground up, cultural officials have announced a major new round of investment in the country’s museum sector.
The news came yesterday at the 2022 Doha Forum in Qatar, where Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums, announced the development of three major new institutions. These include Art Mill, a campus that will be built at the site of an historic flour mill and which will offer exhibition and performance galleries for modern and contemporary art alongside spaces for education and residency programs, production facilities, a village for Qatari creative industries, the Dhow Centre, and gardens. It will be designed by Alejandro Aravena of Elemental.
Meanwhile, the Lusail Museum, which is being designed by starchitect Jacques Herzog of Herzog & de Meuron, will be home to the world’s most extensive collections of Orientalist paintings, drawings, photography, sculptures, rare texts, and applied arts. Its four floors will will host more than 560,000 square feet (52,000 square meters) of galleries, an auditorium, library, dedicated learning spaces, and more.
Lastly, the Qatar Auto Museum, to be designed by Rem Koolhaas of OMA, will be built along the Lusail Expressway between the 5/6 Park and the Katara Cultural Village. The museum will offer 430,000 square feet (40,000 square meters) of permanent galleries tracing the evolution of the automobile from its invention through the present day and exploring how it has influenced culture in Qatar. The project will include a classic car restoration center and areas dedicated to activities for children, such as driving simulators and miniature car mechanics.
The projects’ budget was not disclosed, and a representative for Qatar Museums said there is no estimated date for completion yet.
In her introduction to the forum, Sheikha Al Mayassa said, “I am here today not only as a contributor to developing Qatar’s cultural institutions but as someone who is dedicated to helping my country realize its ambitious National Vision, so we can build the Qatar we want for our children and our citizens.”
She was joined by star soccer athlete David Beckham, among others. The Doha Forum is described as an annual global platform for dialogue where policy leaders can discuss critical challenges facing the world and build networks to address them. During this edition, a panel on the creative economy focused on the new institutions that will join Qatar’s cultural ecosystem in the coming years.
Also currently in development is Dadu, Children’s Museum of Qatar. The array of institutions that Qatar has opened since 2008 include the Museum of Islamic Art, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of Qatar, the M7 hub situated within Msheireb Downtown Doha, and the new 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, which will be inaugurated this week.
Following a preview visit to the sports museum, Beckham said: “Everything is about the future of the country, the vision that inspires so many people. I’ve been coming to Qatar since 2008, and it’s constantly changing. Actually, I was here a couple of months ago and it’s changed since then,” in a statement. He added: “I’ve learned so much from being here.”
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