I will admit, before being prompted by this building to look up what a ‘desert rose’ is,I always thought it was just an allusion to an extremely unlikely occurrence. Oh, and that song by Sting. I was wring. A ‘desert rose’ is actually a mineral formation of crystalized sand, located in the briny layer just below the desert surface. And Jean Nouvel’s newly designed National Museum of Qatar is a resemblance, visually and metaphorically, of one.

Courtesy of Jean Nouvel

A collection of disks, some vertical, some near horizontal, interlock and create a volume. The space within, some 430,000 ft², is home to both temporary and permanent gallery space, a 220-seat auditorium, 70-seat food forum, two cafes, a restaurant, TV studio, and museum shop. There are also research facilities, restoration labs, and staff offices as well as collection cataloging and storage.”]

The building’s form, with its many disks, is predominantly constructed of steel and glass-fibre concrete panels. The steel is laid out in hub&spoke orientations within the disks to lend them structure and more economy than a solid form. There are also columns concealed within the near vertical disks to support the building. The building is clad in glass-fibre concrete panels with glazing spanning between disks. The glazing is set into perimeter mullions recessed into the ceiling to create a frameless appearance from without. Floors are sand-coloured polished concrete. The interior walls are finished in a traditional gypsum+lime blended plaster which imitates stone.

Courtesy of Jean Nouvel

The layering of the disks and their deep overhangs help to create buffer and shade zones which dramatically improve the cooling situation faced by the museum, which hopes to achieve LEED Silver on the USGBC scale.

The museum will also be surrounded by a 1.2 million ft² garden park which is to be planted with indigenous Qatari foliage. This includes native grasses and indigenous plants, such as pomegranate trees, date palms, herbs and the Sidra tree, the national tree of Qatar.

Courtesy of Jean Nouvel

6 Responses

  1. Ksouri Fares

    basic idea…..the intersting think is that is very functional in desert theses kind of disc…the image is beautiful and coming from desert roses that's why is basic…

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