The National Museum of Qatar, centered on the country’s restored historic palace, is the architectural masterpiece by Jean Nouvel, integrated with commissioned artworks and films, rare objects, and expansive gardens, set to open in March 2019.

QATAR MUSEUMS HAS ANNOUNCED that the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ), housed within a spectacular new building designed by architect Jean Nouvel, will open to the public on March 28, 2019, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

The immersive and experiential NMoQ tells the story of Qatar and its people from more than 700 million years ago through to today, giving voice to Qatar’s rich heritage and culture and expressing a vibrant community’s aspirations for the future.

The new museum embraces, as its centerpiece, the restored historic Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani (1880-1957), son of the founder of modern Qatar: a building that in former times was both the home of the Royal Family and the seat of government, and was subsequently the site of the original National Museum. Jean Nouvel’s new 40,000-squaremeter (430,000-square-foot) building incorporates the Palace while seamlessly integrating innovative artworks commissioned from Qatari and international artists, rare and precious objects, documentary materials, and interactive learning opportunities. Jean Nouvel’s dynamic architectural design echoes the geography of Qatar while evoking the history and culture of the nation. According to Nouvel: “Qatar has a deep rapport with the desert, with its flora and fauna, its nomadic people, its long traditions. To fuse these contrasting stories, I needed a symbolic element.

“Eventually, I remembered the phenomenon of the desert rose: crystalline forms, like miniature architectural events, that emerge from the ground through the work of wind, salt water, and sand,” he added. “The museum that developed from this idea, with its great curved discs, intersections, and cantilevered angles, is a totality, at once architectural, spatial, and sensory.”

The National Museum of Qatar is organized in three “chapters”—Beginnings, Life in Qatar, and Building the Nation—presented in eleven galleries. The visitor’s chronological journey, which extends through more than 2.7 km (1.7 miles) of experiences, starts in the geological period long before the peninsula was inhabited by humans and continues to the present day. The route passes through a succession of impressive, remarkably shaped volumes until it reaches its culmination in the very heart of Qatari national identity, the thoroughly restored Palace of Sheikh Abdullah. ✤