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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Sheikh Abdullah’s palace at heart of National Museum of Qatar restored

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Restored palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani
Restored palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani

After three years of work, a landmark palace that is the centerpiece of Qatar’s under-construction National Museum has been successfully restored, officials have announced.

Home to the former ruler of Qatar, Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, the structure is located in the heart of the museum, which is tentatively expected to open next year.

Al Thani is widely regarded as the father of modern Qatar and lived in the palace from when it was built in the early 20th century until it became the country’s former National Museum in 1975.

Experts from Berlin-based firm Ziegert, Roswag, Seiler Architekten Ingenieure oversaw the restoration of the old palace.

In a statement, Qatar Museums said that natural materials and techniques that would have been employed at the time of the building’s initial construction were employed to maintain its authenticity.

Restored palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani
Restored palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani

As part of the project, a team of local artisans was trained over the course of the restoration and worked closely with the project team, learning how to treat wood, restore ornaments and painted ceilings and methods for restoring historic plaster surfaces.

Old palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani
Old palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani

Described by QM as a “monument to an historic way of life in Qatar,” the palace has been restored and refurbished numerous times since it was built.

“When completed, the futuristic, iconic, world-class design of the National Museum will perfectly complement the Palace,” Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, chairperson of QM, added in a statement.

Many of the Doha’s older buildings, particularly in the Msheireb and former downtown area, have already been razed or are ear-marked for demolition as the old town is being remodeled.

However, some iconic structures around town have been saved from the bulldozers. For example, QM oversaw the redevelopment of the old Civil Defense building in Wadi Al Sail into the Fire Station – an artists’ hub and gallery that opened earlier this year.

And earlier this month, the authority announced plans to repurpose the old flour mills by the Museum of Islamic Art to create a massive museum and gallery space that will be known as the Art Mill.

Museum under construction

The palace will sit as the center of the new National Musuem of Qatar, which has been designed by French architect Jean Nouvel to resemble the crystal structure of a desert rose.

The plans were first unveiled in March 2010, and Qatar Museums told Doha News that an opening date of 2016 is still forecast.

Rendering of National Museum
Rendering of National Museum

However, a QM representative previously said that once the structure is built, it would take another six months for cement “off-gassing” – the release of emissions trapped inside the facility – to occur.

And installation of artwork is expected to take an additional year after that.

When finally complete, the museum aims to represent the past, present and future of Qatar, and include several donated pieces of artwork and jewelry.

The 40,000 square meter museum will have 8,000 square meters of permanent exhibition space and a further 2,000 square meters for temporary, rotating exhibitions. Other facilities will include:

  • A 220-seat auditorium;
  • Two retail outlets, two restaurants and a café;
  • A dedicated food forum, preserving culinary traditions;
  • A research center and laboratories; and
  • A park filled with indigenous plants.

Qatar’s public works authority Ashghal previously said it has already undertaken works in the surrounding area in preparation for the museum’s opening, including redeveloping and widening the roads in the vicinity to improve access and reduce congestion.

Thoughts?

16 COMMENTS

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Rane de Beer
Rane de Beer
5 years ago

Looks great, but I don’t understand why the new complex ‘leans’ over it on both sides. Wish Qatar would do more to save older buildings and neighbourhoods, so little of it left, and I love it. DN, not serious, but 3 spelling mistakes with Ziegert, Roswag, SeileR ArchitekTen IngeniEure. tx

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Rane de Beer

That’s no big deal. It’s German and we all know how nonsensical their spelling of words is.

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Given that the modern Germanic based languages (of which English is one) are corruptions of the original you could turn it round and say that the current German language isn’t nonsensical but is in fact the purest form left in existence.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

Still, today’s German is very different from other European languages. See this funny video 🙂
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlATOHGj9EY

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  Rane de Beer

Thank you, will fix.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

I’m looking forward to QM opening but alas I fear it may be sometime around 2019, so probably best to forget about it for a while.

Scarletti
Scarletti
5 years ago

I guess the Germans, being German finished on programme and the rest of the museum will be late ?

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
5 years ago

Is the Canon still there

Debu Thant
Debu Thant
5 years ago

Good day to all. The press release is not accurate that they trained “local artisans”, they used a restoration sub-contractor, which is composed of expats, which did have experience in restoring at least 3 Msheireb houses. It involved TONS of paperwork and because every move made was referred to and approved by the consultant ZRS. The only thing the client representative ASTAD did there was to YELL at meetings hurrying the consultant, main contractor and subcontractor thinking that restoration was easy to execute. The yelling ‘paid off’ many times when there were serious cracks on at least 3 buildings due to hasty decisions fueled by the yellings, which the competent subcontractor have rectified.

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  Debu Thant

WTTME!

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