MEA explores some of Doha’s highly regarded contemporary buildings including IM Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art, Woods Bagot’s Qatar Science and Technology Park and NORR Group Consultants’ Al Hitmi Complex.
Museum of Islamic Art Architect: IM Pei Date of completion: 2008 The project: If you were to take a survey on the most popular contemporary building in Qatar, or even the entire GCC, a strong contender would be IM Pei’s Museum of Modern Art.
The imposing geometric structure contains a collection of over 1000 artifacts from the Muslim world, but it could be argued that the greatest treasure is the building itself.
The museum’s attention-grabbing location – on a purpose-built palm-lined island adjoined to the mainland – was the request of Pei himself; he felt that Doha’s developing skyline would overshadow his building if it was on the corniche.
In order to get under the skin of Muslim design, Pei embarked on a tour of the world’s great Islamic buildings, from the Grand Mosque in Cordoba, Spain, to Fatehpur Sikri in India. Perhaps surprisingly, Pei found his inspiration in the small ablution temple of Ibn Tulun in Cairo, which he described as an “almost Cubist expression” of geometric forms.