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Qatar Auto Museum by OMA

Herzog & de Meuron, OMA and Elemental to design trio of museums in Qatar

Qatar has announced plans to build three museums designed by architects Jacques Herzog of Herzog & de Meuron, Rem Koolhaas of OMA and Alejandro Aravena of Elemental.

Chilean practice Elemental will design the Art Mill in Doha, while Dutch studio OMA will take on the Qatar Auto Museum, also in Doha, and Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron will create the Lusail Museum in Lusail.

The architects for the museums were revealed in an announcement on Sunday by Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums.

Herzog & de Meuron museum will have a "complex topography"

No completion date has been given for the museums, which will be built as part of a strategy to invest in the creative economy in Qatar.

The country is developing a number of new buildings ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which will be held here in November.

The Herzog & de Meuron-designed Lusail Museum will house the world's largest collection of Orientalist paintings, drawings, photography, sculptures, rare texts, and applied arts.

Qatar Auto Museum by OMA
Top: the Qatar Auto Museum will be designed by OMA. Above: an exhibition on the new museum is on display at the National Museum of Qatar

The 52,000-square-metre space will be four-storeys tall and include an auditorium, library and learning spaces, as well as galleries. While no visuals have been revealed, Herzog described the interior as having a "complex topography".

"As this project has gone forward, it has become more like what Qatar itself tries to be, which is a platform for exchange and debate – putting things on the table, and not just saying polite things," he said.

"This debate aspect is important to a museum where the collection is about how the East and West has been in exchange about political, social, and cultural issues from long ago," he added.

"That becomes the main topic. The building is a kind of vessel that inside has a complex topography, a clash of fragments of different places and functions."

OMA museum will "track the evolution of the automobile"

The Qatar Auto Museum, to be designed by OMA and located along the Lusail Express Way between the 5/6 Park and Katara Cultural Village, will be smaller than the Herzog & de Meuron building, measuring 30,000 square metres.

It will "track the evolution of the automobile from its invention through today and how it has influenced culture in Qatar". The building will also house a classic-car restoration centre and have areas for kids' activities.

The museum will be located in a former exhibition centre that hosted the first Qatar Motor Show in 2011, which OMA will transform together with Qatar Museums.

Development on this project will begin after the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy has concluded its operations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

An exhibition about the Qatar Auto Museum called A Sneak Peek at Qatar Auto Museum Project is on view at the Jean Nouvel-designed National Museum of Qatar until 20 January 2023.

Elemental "have never done a museum before"

The third museum, the Art Mill, will be located at the site of Doha's historic Flour Mill and designed by Elemental with landscapes by Swiss designer Günther Vogt. It marks the first time Elemental has designed a museum and will feature a wide range of spaces.

As well as art exhibition and performance galleries, the Art Mill will have a village for Qatari creatives, spaces for residency programs, production facilities and more.

"We have never done a museum before, and so we ourselves are examples of the creative economy as something that requires trust," Aravena said.

"One of its opportunities is that you can bet on people. With the Art Mill, we are trying to trigger some consequences for local industry even before construction starts," he added.

"The Art Mill will not just be a perfectly finished object but an opportunity for young designers, artisans, craftspeople in Qatar to come together to deliver the knowledge they have accumulated and contribute to the building, so that it not only houses a great collection but expands to more popular audiences."

The three museums are among a number of other cultural buildings being developed in the country, including Dadu, Children's Museum of Qatar, and the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, which will be inaugurated this week.

Qatar has also built eight stadiums ahead of the FIFA World Cup games, including a design by Foster + Partners, which is also designing four aluminium-clad skyscrapers near its stadium.

The images are courtesy of OMA.