Museum of Islamic Art in Doha

Saturday, 1 June 2024 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, House of the Month
Reading Time:  7 minutes

© flickr.com - Mohamod Fasil/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Mohamod Fasil/cc-by-2.0

The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) (Arabic: Matḥaf al-Fann al-Islāmī) is a museum on one end of the seven-kilometer-long (4.3 mi) Corniche in Doha, Qatar. As per the architect I. M. Pei’s specifications, the museum is built on an island off an artificial projecting peninsula near the traditional dhow harbor. A purpose-built park surrounds the edifice on the eastern and southern facades while two bridges connect the southern front facade of the property with the main peninsula that holds the park. The western and northern facades are marked by the harbor showcasing the Qatari seafaring past. In September 2017, Qatar Museums appointed Julia Gonnella as new director of MIA. In November 2022 the MIA became the first carbon-neutral certified museum in the Middle East Region. The museum participates in the Expo 2023 Doha from October 2023 until March 2024, with workshops and events focusing on biodiversity and sustainability.

The museum hosts the restaurant IDAM led by the head chef Alain Ducasse. The restaurant is inspired by French Mediterranean cuisine. IDAM also offers master classes in cooking artisanal bread and raw foods. workshops for schools and the general public, and a library that provides information about Islamic Arts in both English and Arabic. The library also has nine study rooms.

Adjacent to the museum is the MIA Park, a waterfront open space administered by the museum. It features cafes, a children’s play area, and 7, a vertical steel sculpture by American sculptor Richard Serra. A bazaar is also held at the park, having started in 2012 as a once a month event, but eventually being hosted twice a week since late 2016. After being paused in 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the bazaar was held again in late February 2023.

The Museum of Islamic Art represents Islamic art from three continents over 1,400 years. Its collection includes metal work, ceramics, jewelry, wood work, textiles, and glass obtained from three continents and dating from the 7th to the 20th century. The museum houses a collection of work gathered since the late 1980s including manuscripts, textiles and ceramics. It is one of the world’s most complete collections of Islamic artifacts, with items originating in Spain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, India, and Central Asia. An important Quranic manuscript within the collection is MS.474.2003. The museum also owns a page of the Blue Qur’an, an indigo-dyed manuscript created over 1,000 years ago that is one of the most elaborate Qur’ans in the world.

© LBM1948/cc-by-sa-4.0 © LBM1948/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Chainwit./cc-by-sa-4.0 © flickr.com - Mohamod Fasil/cc-by-2.0 © Haakon S. Krohn/cc-by-sa-3.0 © panoramio.com - Jaseem Hamza/cc-by-3.0
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© panoramio.com - Jaseem Hamza/cc-by-3.0
The museum is influenced by traditional Islamic architecture yet has a uniquely modern design involving geometric patterns. It is the first of its kind to feature over 14 centuries of Islamic art in the Arab States of the Persian Gulf.

Occupying an area of 45,000 m² (480,000 sq ft), the museum is on an artificial peninsula overlooking the south end of Doha Bay. Construction of the building was done by a Turkish company, Baytur Construction, in 2006. The interior gallery spaces were designed by a team of Wilmotte Associates. The museum was opened on November 22, 2008, by the then-emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad.> It opened to the general public on December 8, 2008.

At 91 years of age, the museum’s architect, I. M. Pei had to be coaxed out of retirement to undertake this enterprise. He traveled throughout the Muslim world on a six-month quest to learn about Muslim architecture and history and read Muslim texts to draw inspiration for his design. According to Pei, the light fountain in 9th century Ibn Tulun Mosque of Cairo was the inspiration.

Declining all proposed sites for the museum, he suggested a stand-alone island for the structure to avoid encroachments by other buildings in the future. It was built off an artificial peninsula, approximately 60 m (200 ft) off the Doha Corniche and surrounded by a somewhat crescent-shaped 290,000 m² (3,100,000 sq ft) park. Pei requested that the museum spaces be designed by his collaborator on the Louvre project, Wilmotte & Associates, who then assembled a design team including Plowden & Smith (conservation consultants), Isometrix Lighting + Design (lighting consultants), and SG Conseil (AV Consultants) under Turner Projacs. Along with this design team, Leslie E. Robertson Associates was the structural engineer for the project.

The main building consists of the five floors, the main dome, and the central tower. It is connected with the education ward via a large central court. Pei utilized creamy limestone for the outer facades to emphasize the various shades during the different times of the day. The five floors are covered by a glass facade to the north, and it provides a panoramic view of the Persian Gulf. The interior of the building is decorated by several Islamic arts, and the large metallic chandelier hung over the main staircase of the lobby. Many elements found in Ibn Tulun Mosque are represented in the building as an abstract form. This enables the agreement with values and principles of the postmodern architecture historical trend which synchronize the modernity and the historical Islamic architectural identity.

Read more on Museum of Islamic Art, VisitQatar.com – Discover the Museum of Islamic Art and Wikipedia Museum of Islamic Art. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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