Exterior of the National Museum of Qatar

Iconic Architecture

The complex form of the desert rose, found in Qatar’s arid desert regions, inspired the striking design of the NMoQ building, conceived by French architect Jean Nouvel.

Completed in 2019, the museum’s building has been constructed around the centerpiece of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani’s original palace – his family home and seat of the government for 25 years. The palace has been carefully restored and conserved so that it can be enjoyed by visitors and future generations to come.

In addition to the unique architecture and stunning gallery spaces, the building features a 220-seat auditorium, two restaurants, a café and a traditional food forum.

For scholars and students, the museum offers a new research centre and laboratories along with access to digital archives. A landscaped park also provides visitors with a chance to explore and learn about Qatar’s indigenous plants and their role in Qatari culture.

Qatar has a deep rapport with the desert, with its flora and fauna, its nomadic people, its long traditions. To fuse these contrasting stories, I needed a symbolic element. Eventually, I remembered the phenomenon of the desert rose: crystalline forms, like miniature architectural events, that emerge from the ground through the work of wind, salt water, and sand.

Jean Nouvel, Architect

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