Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron have unveiled their design for the Lusail Museum, a cultural institution located on Al Maha Island near Doha, Qatar. The five-storey museum, shaped like robust intersecting spheres, draws inspiration from historic Islamic architecture. The exterior, with a rough, sand-like texture, blends seamlessly with the coastal landscape. The design prioritizes a visual connection to the sea while protecting the art from excessive natural light.

Architectural Composition: Intersecting Spheres and Coastal Blending

Herzog & de Meuron’s design employs intersecting and overlapping spheres to define internal volumes. The building’s exterior, characterized by striated concrete in earthy tones, harmonizes with the coastal surroundings. Deep cuts and geometric punctures create recessed windows, entry points, and skylights across the building, offering both functionality and aesthetic appeal.

Spatial Harmony: Skylit Boulevard and Ornate Galleries

A crescent-shaped, skylit boulevard connects the entrance, central lobby, and gallery programs, ensuring a seamless spatial experience. The museum incorporates four gallery rooms inspired by details abstracted from significant Islamic buildings. Ornamental features and geometries from historical architecture are integrated into the cupolas, creating unexpected spatial experiences. A central spiral staircase, clad in polished plaster, leads to upper exhibition spaces.

Material Palette: Textures and Contrasts

While the primary material is rough and expressed concrete, Herzog & de Meuron introduces zones of material contrast. A sculpted spiral staircase is adorned with polished plaster, and the prayer room features reflective metal cladding. The design incorporates tactile wood, textiles, ceramic tiles, upholstered niches, and metal accents, enriching the material palette.

Cultural Collaboration: Vernacular References and Local Artisans

Construction is envisioned as a collaborative process with local artisans and craftspeople, ensuring vernacular references maintain genuine connections to the region. The museum, scheduled for construction commencement in 2024 with a completion date of 2029, aligns with Qatar’s commitment to cultural development.

Qatar’s Cultural Landscape: A Trio of Museums and Urban Evolution

The Lusail Museum is part of Qatar’s ambitious cultural landscape, alongside museums designed by OMA and Elemental. Lusail, a city currently undergoing development for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, continues to evolve with architectural marvels, including the golden football stadium and aluminum-clad skyscrapers designed by Foster + Partners.

Global Architectural Stature: Herzog & de Meuron’s Pritzker Prize Legacy

Herzog & de Meuron, a Pritzker Prize-winning architectural studio, has showcased its design prowess globally. From the Lusail Museum in Qatar to a giant cube storage building in Seoul and an infinity pool at Lake Como, their portfolio reflects a commitment to innovation and cultural integration.


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