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Qatar’s museum building spree continues, with plans for three new cultural institutions designed by architects

Qatar's museum building spree continues, with plans for three new cultural institutions designed by architects

More than 15 years after Qatar embarked on an ambitious program to build museums from the ground up, cultural officials have announced a new round of major investments in the country’s museum sector.

The news fell yesterday at Doha Forum 2022 in Qatar, where Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, President of Qatar Museums, announced the development of three major new institutions. These include the Art Mill, a campus to be built on the site of a historic flour mill and which will offer exhibition and performance galleries for modern and contemporary art as well as spaces for programs of education and residence, production facilities, a village for Qatari creative industries, the Dhow Center and gardens. It will be designed by Alejandro Aravena of Elemental.

Meanwhile, the Lusail Museum, designed by architect Jacques Herzog de Herzog & de Meuron, will house one of the world’s largest collections of Orientalist paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, rare texts and applied arts. Its four floors will accommodate more than 560,000 square feet (52,000 square meters) of galleries, an auditorium, a library, dedicated learning spaces, and more.

Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, President of Qatar Museums, speaking at the Doha Forum 2022 in Qatar on March 27. Image courtesy of Qatar Museums.

Finally, the Qatar Auto Museum, which will be designed by OMA’s Rem Koolhaas, will be built along the Lusail Highway between Park 5/6 and 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 to the present day and exploring how it has influenced culture in Qatar. The project will include a vintage car restoration center and dedicated areas for children’s activities, such as driving simulators and miniature car mechanics.

The projects’ budget was not disclosed, and a Qatar Museums representative said there was no estimated completion date yet.

In her introduction to the forum, Sheikha Al Mayassa said: “I am here today not only as a contributor to the development of Qatar’s cultural institutions, but as someone who is dedicated to helping my country achieve its ambitious National Visionso that we can build the Qatar we want for our children and our citizens.

She was joined by star footballer David Beckham, among others. The Doha Forum is described as an annual global platform for dialogue where political leaders can discuss critical challenges facing the world and network 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.

David Beckham speaking at the Doha Forum 2022 in Qatar on March 27.  Image courtesy of Qatar Museums

David Beckham speaking at the Doha Forum 2022 in Qatar on March 27. Image courtesy of Qatar Museums.

Dadu, the Qatar Children’s Museum, is also under development. The range 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 located in downtown Msheireb in Doha and the new 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and the Sports Museum, which will be inaugurated this week.

After a preview visit to the Sports Museum, Beckham said: “It’s all about the future of the country, the vision that inspires so many people. I have been coming to Qatar since 2008 and it is constantly changing. In fact, I was here a few months ago and it has since changed,” in a statement. He added: “I learned so much being here.”

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