Museum of Islamic Art

Museum of Islamic Art

By:  Tony Elliott, AIA, IIDA, R.I.D., NCARB I want to thank the folks at IDO Incorporated for asking me to be a guest blogger on their website. I have been very fortunate lately to have the opportunity to travel and see some great places that offer interesting and awe-inspiring examples of design and architecture. This first blog session is dedicated to a trip I took last week to Doha, Qatar. The city of Doha is the capital of Qatar a small peninsula that is West of the UAE. My flight from Dubai was only about an hour from door step to door step. Doha is the site for the upcoming World Cup Football 2020 (or as we say in the USA, “soccer”) Championship games.  It has gone thru a surge in building construction and most of the downtown area is loaded with shiny new glass and steel high rise buildings. I only had a day and a half to explore Doha, so I concentrated on one of IM Pei’s newest creations, the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA). The building was officially opened in 2008. When IM Pei was selected to design the structure, he told the design committee that he did not know much about Islamic Art and/or many of the Islamic cultural events. He wanted some time to study up on how the building would best portray the Arabic culture. I think he did a great job in bringing many of the Arabic symbols and forms into play with the building in both the interior and exterior imagery. The building sits on the edge of the Doha harbor.  The exterior is comprised of cream-colored limestone with some accent panels in gray granite. The main museum is a five storey tower with a two storey education wing that contains a library area. The dome in the middle of the building is 164 feet above the ground floor area. At the top of the dome you will find  an oculus that captures the light and provides a tremendous display of light reflecting off of the faceted dome. IM Pei was able to use the desert sun to transform the light into some very interesting light and shadow areas. Water is a very important element in the Middle East. Fountains, waterfalls, pools of still water can all be found throughout the MIA. I hope you enjoy the photos that are attached to this blog…………… I.M. Pei – Museum of Islamic Art – Doha video   Thanks again to Jill, Lee and Amanda for allowing me to share some of my designer travels…..  

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