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Museum of Islamic Art, Doha by I. M. Pei

The Museum of Islamic Art, a new cultural icon for the Gulf region

pei_mia_02

Angular structural supports of the Museum of Islamic Art complement the faceted dome above
© by Museum of Islamic Art, Doha
All images and information provided by Ruder Finn – Images courtesy of Museum of Islamic Art ; Plans courtesy of I.M. Pei Architect

I.M. Pei Architect and Ruder Finn Communications have provided us with images and plans of Doha’s iconic MIA – we share it with you on desMena.

MIA – Qatar’s iconic landmark building designed by I.M. Pei Architect

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect I.M. Pei, the 376,740-square-foot Museum of Islamic Art in Doha Bay houses a collection of international masterpieces in galleries encircling a soaring, five-storey-high domed atrium. The Museum, an architectural icon 60m (195ft) off Doha’s Corniche, rises from the sea and is connected to shore by two pedestrian bridges and a vehicular bridge. A C-shaped peninsula and park area on the shoreline behind the Museum offer shelter and a picturesque backdrop.
The Museum is composed of a five-storey Main Building and a two-storey Education Wing, which are connected across a central courtyard. The Main Building’s angular volumes step back progressively as they rise around a 50-m-high (164ft) central domed atrium. The dome is concealed from outside view by the walls of a central tower. A sheet of glass rises to a height of 45m (148ft) on the north side of the Museum offering views of the Gulf and West Bay area of Doha from all five floors of the atrium. Ceilings are constructed of intricate cast-in place architectural concrete coffered domes, finished with individual molds. At the top of the atrium is the circular oculus of a stainless steel dome, which captures facets of patterned light. The form of the dome changes as the structure descends, so its perimeter becomes an octagon and then a square, which in turn is transformed into four triangular column supports.

pei_mia_37west-east section
© by  I.M. Pei Architect

Mission
The Museum of Islamic Art is dedicated to reflecting the full vitality, complexity and diversity of the arts of the Islamic world. It is a world-class collecting institution, which preserves, studies and exhibits masterpieces spanning three continents and 13 centuries. As a centre for information, research and creativity, the Museum aims to reach a wide global audience and serve as a hub for dialogue and cultural exchange.

pei_mia_01The Museum of Islamic Art’s main building entrance façade through the palm tree alley;
© by Museum of Islamic Art

Context
The Museum of Islamic Art is the flagship project of the Qatar Museums Authority, which under the leadership of its Chairperson, H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa, is transforming the State of Qatar into a cultural capital of the Middle East. Qatar Museums Authority was created in December 2005 to combine the resources of all museums in the State of Qatar. The QMA’s vision revolves around the provision of a comprehensive umbrella under which future plans will be drawn for the development of national museums and the establishment of an effective system for collecting, protecting, preserving and interpreting historic sites, monuments and artifacts.

pei_mia_12View of the Museum of Islamic Art from the Doha Corniche;
© by Museum of Islamic Art

The Building
The Museum of Islamic Art is the result of a journey of discovery conducted by I.M. Pei, whose quest to understand the diversity of Islamic architecture led him on a world tour. During visits to the Grand Mosque in Córdoba, Spain; Fatehpur Sikri, a Mughal capital in India; the Umayyad Great Mosque in Damascus, Syria; and the ribat fortresses at Monastir and Sousse in Tunisia, he found that influences of climate and culture led to many interpretations of Islamic architecture, but none evoked the true essence he sought.

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The Museum of Islamic Art appears to float above the waters of the Arabian Gulf;
© by Museum of Islamic Art

Mr. Pei’s final design inspiration was the 13th-century sabil (ablutions fountain) of the Mosque of Ahmad Ibn Tulun in Cairo, Egypt (9th century). In the “austerity and simplicity” of the sabil, Mr. Pei stated, he found “a severe architecture that comes to life in the sun, with its shadows and shades of colour” The sabil offered “an almost Cubist expression of geometric progression”which evoked an abstract vision of the key design elements of Islamic architecture.

pei_mia_20The desert light plays with the geometry of the Museum of Islamic Art;
© by Museum of Islamic Art

Declining to build the structure on any of the proposed sites along the Corniche, Mr. Pei suggested a stand-alone island be created to ensure future buildings would never encroach on the Museum. The building stands in the sea some 195 feet off Doha’s Corniche. A park of approximately 64 acres of dunes and oases on the shoreline behind the Museum offers shelter and a picturesque backdrop.

pei_mia_00siteplan
© by I.M. Pei Architect

Built of fine materials, such as cream-coloured Magny and Chamesson limestone from France, Jet Mist granite from the United States and stainless steel from Germany, as well as architectural concrete from Qatar, the Museum is composed of a five-storey main building and a two-storey Education Wing, which are connected across a central courtyard. The main building’s angular volumes step back progressively as they rise around a 164-foot-high domed atrium, which is concealed from outside view by the walls of a central tower. At the top of the atrium, an oculus captures and reflects patterned light within the faceted dome. The desert sun plays a fundamental role, transforming the architecture into a play of light and shadows.

pei_mia_17Museum of Islamic Art, reflected in the waters of the Arabian Gulf;
© by Museum of Islamic Art
pei_mia_03The faceted dome of the Museum of Islamic Art features an oculus that captures and reflects sunlight;
© by Museum of Islamic Art

A glass curtain wall on the north side of the Museum offers panoramic views of the Gulf and West Bay area of Doha from all five floors of the atrium. Ceilings are embellished with intricate coffered domes, and perforated metal chandeliers hang in the atrium. Two more lanterns, each 100 feet tall, mark the boat dock on the west side of the Museum, creating a grand entrance for guests arriving by boat.

pei_mia_04The Museum of Islamic Art features a 5-storey window that offers views of the Gulf and the West Bay of Doha;
© by Museum of Islamic Art
pei_mia_05The fountain café on the ground floor of the Museum of Islamic Art;
© by Museum of Islamic Art

The galleries, designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte from Paris, France feature dark grey porphyry stone and Louro Faya, a Brazilian lacewood that was brushed and treated to create a metallic appearance, which contrast with the light-coloured stonework of the rest of the Museum. To protect the fragile antiquities on display, the exhibition rooms feature specially designed cases and lighting. Mr. Wilmotte also created custom furniture for the museum, inspired by Pei’s architectural style.

pei_mia_09Gallery view of the Egypt and Syria (12th-13th Century) section of the Museum of Islamic Art’s permanent collection;
Photo by Lois Lammerhuber,
© by Lois Lammerhuber
pei_mia_11View of the manuscripts/rare books reading room located in the Education Wing library;
© by Museum of Islamic Art

The Museum’s education programs are housed in a 29,000-square-foot wing, located to the east of the main building across a fountain courtyard. The Education Wing, scheduled to open late 2009, includes a light-filled reading room in the Museum library, classrooms, workshops, study spaces, and technical and storage facilities. Among the latter is the conservation laboratory, an important new resource for the entire region. Underscoring the central role of education in the Museum of Islamic Art, the Education Wing will host educational and community activities to develop and foster an understanding and appreciation for Islamic art.

pei_mia_13Interior of the Education Wing library designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte & Associés;
© by Museum of Islamic Art
pei_mia_19
Striking geometry of the Museum of Islamic Art viewed from the southwest;
© by Museum of Islamic Art
pei_mia_18Museum of Islamic Art is located on its own island off the Doha Corniche;
© by Museum of Islamic Art
pei_mia_16The Museum of Islamic Art against the Doha skyline;
© by Museum of Islamic Art
pei_mia_15Museum of Islamic Art situated 60m off the Doha Corniche on an island made of reclaimed land;
© by Museum of Islamic Art
pei_mia_07The grand staircase at the Museum of Islamic Art, as seen from the main entrance;
© by Museum of Islamic Art
pei_mia_06The grand spiral staircase at the centre of the atrium of the Museum of Islamic Art is offset from the patterned chandelier
© by Museum of Islamic Art
pei_mia_31MIA first floor plan © by I.M. Pei Architect
pei_mia_32MIA second floor plan © by I.M. Pei Architect
pei_mia_33MIA third floor plan © by I.M. Pei Architect
pei_mia_34MIA fourth floor plan © by I.M. Pei Architect
pei_mia_35MIA fifth floor plan © by I.M. Pei Architect
pei_mia_36MIA north-south section © by I.M. Pei Architect

Facilities
Two floors of permanent exhibition galleries
One main temporary gallery
Two outdoor courtyards flank the vast atrium area
A 197-seat auditorium
Prayer halls for men and women
A gift and bookshop
A world-class conservation lab and object storage
A library and closed rare-books study section
Classrooms and offices

Dimensions
Total building 35,500sq m (382,118sq ft)

Total gallery space 4,225sq m (45,477sq ft)

Permanent gallery space 3,100sq m (33,368sq ft)

Temporary gallery space 750sq m (8,073sq ft)

Study galleries 375sq m (4,036sq ft)

Education Wing 2,700sq m (29,062sq ft)

Library 820sq m (8,826sq ft)

Conservation lab 400sq m (4,305sq ft)

Collection storage 1,800sq m (19,375sq ft)

Auditorium (197 seats) 430sq m (4,628sq ft)

Restaurant 380sq m (4,090sq ft)

Gift shop 300sq m (3,229sq ft)

Highest point (inside) 50m (164ft)

Highest point (outside) 63m (207ft)

North facing glazed glass 45m (148ft)

Chandelier (main lobby) 12m diameter (39ft)

Light pillars at the boat dock 30m high each (98ft)

Museum Park (inc. peninsula) 26 hectares (64.2 acres)

Ceremonial entrance & bridge 280m (918ft)

Design Team
Architect: I. M. Pei Architect (New York)
I.M. Pei
Perry Y. Chin, Project Manager
Hiroshi Okamoto, Design, Site Representative
TohTsun Lim, Design / Job Captain, Site Representative
Fatma Aslihan Demirtas, Lead Design
Deborah Ann Campbell, Job Captain
Haruko Fukui, Design
Rayme Kuniyuki, Technical Design
Stephen A. Hopkins, Technical
Aki Ishida, Technical
Chris Rand, Design
Yi Chi Su, Technical
Michael Visscihelli, Technical Advisor
Andy Mei, Technical

Gallery Design
Jean-Michel Wilmotte (Paris)
Jean-Michel Wilmotte
Emmanuel Brelot, Project Manager
Fabian Servagnat, Job Captain and Site Representative
Xavier Turk, Design and Site Representative
Designers Barbara Clout, Abir Fawaz, Hoon Moreau, Emilie Oliverio, Jean-Luc Perrin, Michael Placidi, Moochul Shin

Consultants
Structural Engineer: Leslie E. Robertson Associates, NY
Mechanical Engineer: Jaros Baum & Bolles, NY
Lighting Designer Fisher Marantz Stone, NY
Local Associate: Qatar Engineer & Associates, Doha
Acoustics: Xu Acoustique, Paris
AudioVisual: Shen Milsom Wilke, NY
Fountain: Fountain People, Texas/HOBBS Architectural Fountains, Georgia
Marine Engineering: COWI A/S, Denmark
Fire Protection/ Life Safety: Rolf Jensen & Associates, NY
Gallery Lighting: Isometrix, London
Signage: ENT Design, Paris
Audio Visual / IT Design: Soheil Ghodsy, Paris
Security Design: Quadrant Security Group, London
Kitchen Design: Plan Consultant, Paris
Conservation: Plowden & Smith, London
Quantity Surveyor and Manager: Sterling Quest Associates, Paris

Publications
Museum of Islamic Art by Philip Jodidio, Prestel 2008 Museum Guide
Other books include: From Cordoba to Samarqand
Metalwork Treasures from the Islamic Court
Jeweled Treasures from the Mughal Courts
Iznik Pottery for the Ottoman Empire
Mamluk Enameled and Gilded Glass
Ivory
Silk
A Written Cosmos

Sponsors
Exclusive QMA Media Partner: Al Jazeera Network Strategic Financial Partner: Qatar Financial Center (QFC) Exclusive Communications Partner: Qatar Telecom (Qtel)

Audio Guide
A multimedia tour produced by Antenna is available in English and Arabic

Visitor Information
The Museum of Islamic Art Al Corniche Doha, Qatar Telephone: +974 422 4444 Website: www.mia.org.qa
Hours
The Museum of Islamic Art is open Saturday through Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The Museum is closed on Tuesdays, December 25 and the first day of Eid.
Admission
There is no charge for admission to the Museum, or to the first Temporary Exhibition. A charge will be made

4 comments to Museum of Islamic Art, Doha by I. M. Pei

  • Iris Vermeulen

    Dear Sir, Madam

    I am a student (16 years old) from the Netherlands.
    For an important mathematics school project, I have to build a model of a building with geometrical forms.
    When I saw the documentary of the museum of the Islamic Arts in Qatar, built by mr. I.M. Pei, I was convinced that this beautiful building would be extremely qualified for my school project.
    To make a proper model of this building, I need the (approximate) dimensions.
    Unfortunately the plans shown on your site are impossible for me to read.
    Could you please provide me with the right measures?
    So I can make the right calculations and a good model of this museum?
    I will be very grateful for your help,

    Kind regards, Iris Vermeulen

  • […] Museum of Islamic Art, Doha by I. M. Pei […]

  • Reem Hamdan

    Dear Sir, Madam
    I am a second year Architecture student at the German Jordanian University in Jordan. I am supposed to choose a project that would represent Architecture in the Islamic Context, and I couldn’t find a better one. I was very happy for finding all those plans and sections but I was hoping as well to find the architectural elevations for this project as they are going to help me a lot. I searched everywhere but I couldn’t find the technical ones. I would be very glad if you were able to provide me with the elevations of this project.

    Kind Regards
    Reem Hamdan

  • khalid riaz

    As the museum is brilliant example of islamic architecture….same is the method of providing full information which is good of learning for the architectural students.thanx

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