This contemporary museum is inspired by the Islamic architectural principles of light, geometry and water. Built on reclaimed land off the coast of Doha, the island museum comprises a five-storey main building and an education centre with a courtyard in between. The main building is monolithic limestone apart from the glass curtain walling to the north, facing the Arabian Gulf. The plan form is a square surmounted by an octagon and then a circle, which is the dome above the atrium. The dome’s facets reflect sunlight from the oculus, a play of light enhanced by chandeliers. Fountains and mist gardens complete the traditional Islamic references.
Necipoglu, Gulru and David Roxburgh. “The Legacies of Islamic Architecture in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.” Lesson 22/22 presentation developed for the Aga Khan Trust for Culture Education Programme, 2019.
The twenty-second lesson in a 22 lesson course on Monuments of Islamic Architecture developed by Professors Gulru Necipoglu and David Roxburgh at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University. Throughout the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth century, European
powers invaded and colonized large portions of the Islamic world, reshaping
both the physical boundaries of these territories and the structures of
What this period brought with it
are two interrelated trends in terms of art historical study: Europe’s and
America’s discovery of Islamic art and its impact in the nineteenth and
twentieth centuries in what came to be known as Orientalist art.
This is also a period when the
first books on Islamic art and museum collections are formed.
In the arts of the Islamic world,
there was an integration of European ideas and techniques.
More broadly, the increase in
globalization and the subversion of Islamic lands under Western hegemony led to
the growth of nationalism and revivalism.