Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar


The Museum of Islamic Art is a museum located in the Qatari capital Doha and designed by architect I. M. Pei.
The museum draws much influence from ancient Islamic architecture yet has a unique design. It was the first of its kind in thePersian Gulf and has a very large collection of Islamic art, plus a study, a library, and several restaurants. Sabiha Al Khemirserved as the founding director of the museum from 2006-2008. [1] The museum has a total area of 45,000 m2 and lies on the edge of Doha harbour at the south end of Doha Bay. Construction by Baytur Constr.Co. (Turkey), of the structure reached completion in 2006, but the interior was subjected to a variety of changes thereafter.[2] The museum celebrated its VIP opening on November 22, 2008, and opened to the general public on December 1, 2008.[3][4]
Another view of Museum of Islamic Art
In the museum are displayed a collection of works gathered over the last 20 years, including manuscripts, textiles and ceramics. It is one of the world’s most complete collections of Islamic artifacts, ranging from Spain to Egypt to Iran, Iraq, Turkey, India and Central Asia.[5] At the age of 91, 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.[6][7]
Declining all the proposed sites for the museum, Pei suggested a stand alone island for the structure to avoid the encroachment of other buildings. Thus it was built on 64 acres on an island approximate 195 feet off Doha’s Corniche and surrounded by a park.[6]