John McAslan and Partners has transformed a group of historic Msheireb Museums within Msheireb Properties’ flagship redevelopment of the historical downtown area of Doha. This Heritage Quarter was the traditional anchor of cultural, religious and political power serving the local population.
The four historic houses – Company House, Bin Jelmood, Mohammed Bin Jassim House and Radwani House – have been remodelled and extended to accommodate state-of-the-art museum environments showcasing key elements of Qatari history and culture. The creation of museums within existing buildings is always challenging, requiring a forensic understanding of original building fabrics, and the way these buildings relate to their environment.
While respecting the heritage value of these structures, the practice has sensitively transformed them to accommodate the latest museum display technologies. In the age of Google and iPad, the Msheireb museums bring history vividly to life, using interactive exhibition displays to communicate the experience, artefacts and meanings of the past to a 21st century audience.
Imaginatively preserving Doha’s rich heritage, the Msheireb Museums communicate a distinct chapter of Qatari history and culture. Key interventions to the existing domestic structures allow them to operate as modern museums in terms of circulation and environmental conditioning.
These involved enclosing a number of previously external courtyards, providing legible circulation routes and additional accommodation. The architectural responses are specific to each housebuilding and yet share a “DNA” that presents the four museums as a cohesive, overarching visitor experience.
Interventions, whilst sensitively designed and harmonious with the existing structures, offer a clear distinction between historic original fabric and new build. This creates a clarity and legibility to the architectural response and to the practice’s approach to new and old as part of the museum experience. The Msheireb Museums provide a meaningful context for the dynamic growth of the modern city.
The project restores enhances the Heritage Quarter’s distinct sense of place, retaining its historic character while creating a vibrant hub for the reinvigorated cultural activity of the modern city. The result is a sequence of buildings with a shared DNA, reviving local heritage and culture through a unified architectural idiom. Source by John McAslan + Partners.
- Location: Doha, Qatar
- Architect: John McAslan + Partners
- Landscape Architect: John McAslan + Partners
- Local Consultant: Arab Engineering Bureau
- Engineer: Buro Happold
- Contractor: QACC, Qatar
- Museum Planner: Barker Langham
- Museum Designer: RAA
- Lighting Designer: GIA-Equation
- Client: Msheireb Properties
- Area: 4,605 sqm
- Year: 2016
- Photographs: Edmund Sumner, Courtesy of John McAslan + Partners