Project: I. M. Pei, Doha, Qatar (Photo: Gosia Glowacka, April 2014)
The museum is influenced by ancient Islamic architecture, yet has a unique design. It was the first of its kind in Arab States of the Persian Gulf and has a very large collection of Islamic art, plus a study and a library. Sabiha Al Khemir served as the founding director of the museum from 2006-2008.
Occupying a total area of 45,000 m2, the museum is located on an artificial peninsula overlooking the south end of Doha Bay. Construction by Baytur Construction Co. (Turkey) was completed in 2006, but the museum’s interior was subjected to a variety of changes thereafter. The museum celebrated its VIP opening on November 22, 2008, and opened to the general public on December 8, 2008.
The museum’s architect was I. M. Pei. 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. Declining all proposed sites for the museum, Pei suggested a stand-alone island for the structure in order to avoid the encroachment on other buildings. Thus it was built on the water, approximately 195 feet (59 m) off the Doha Corniche and surrounded by a park. Pei requested, further, that the museum spaces be designed by his collaborator on the Louvre project, Wilmotte & Associes, who then assembled a design team including Plowden & Smith (conservation consultants), Isometrix Lighting + Design (lighting consultants), SG Conseil (AV Consultants) under Turner Projacs. Along with this design team, Leslie E. Robertson Associates was the structural engineer for this project. (source: Wikipedia)