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Dadu, Children's Museum of Qatar by UNStudio 

UNStudio unveils design for blocky children's museum in Qatar

Dutch architecture office UNStudio has revealed its design for the Dadu, Children's Museum of Qatar at an exhibition of upcoming museums in Qatar during the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Set alongside the large Al Bidda Park in northern Doha, the museum is one of a group of museums currently under development in the country by architects including Chilean practice Elemental, Dutch studio OMA and Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, which were presented at the Building a Creative Nation exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Named Dadu, which means play in Arabic, the museum will be aimed at children aged up to 11.

The Dadu, Children's Museum of Qatar by UNStudio 
UNStudio is designing the Dadu, Children's Museum of Qatar

To house the museum, UNStudio designed a building formed from a series of interconnected blocky forms arranged in a circle around a covered foyer.

This arrangement was informed by the layout of historic villages in the Doha area and was designed to become a safe central gathering space.

"The idea came together around the idea for the building blocks of learning," UNstudio co-founder Ben van Berkel told Dezeen.

Children's museum in Doha
The museum is arranged around a central gathering space

"The museum is organised around the principle of how old villages in Doha develop," Van Berkel continued. "There was a central patio where families would live around and kids could play in the middle and feel safe because the parents are near."

"Maybe they could not always see the kids, but they could hear them, and this idea was introduced into the central gathering space where kids play can on their own."

Top-lit foyer in museum
All the galleries will be accessed from the central space

Arranged around this central, top-lit space will be a series of thematic galleries placed within the blocky forms along with a restaurant, cafe and activity rooms.

Each of the galleries will feature interactive exhibitions dedicated to themes like science, sustainability and the history of Doha.

"A variety of stimulating, interactive and accessible indoor and outdoor experiences will offer families opportunities to play and learn together," said Dadu, Children's Museum of Qatar director Essa Al Mannai.

"Our mission to nurture children's creativity, imagination, and love of learning is too important to wait until we open our doors. We feel we are needed at this time to support families, and to connect people and ideas despite being physically apart."

Foyer of Dadu, Children's Museum of Qatar in Doha
The foyer was designed as a safe space for play

The museum will be one of a growing number recently built in Qatar, many of which were completed ahead of last year's World Cup. Ahead of the event we rounded up 10 cultural buildings recently completed in and around in Doha.

Building a Creative Nation takes place at Palazzo Franchetti during the Venice Architecture Biennale, which takes place from 20 May to 26 November 2023. See Dezeen Events Guide for all the latest information you need to know to attend the event, as well as a list of other architecture and design events taking place around the world.