Project: Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar
Sara Pepitone -- Interior Design, 8/1/2012 8:14:00 PM
Project: Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art
Architect: Jean-François Bodin
Two years ago, Paris-based architecture firm Jean-François Bodin was tapped to build a temporary structure for Mathaf: the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar. Flash-forward to today and neither the permanent space's architect nor its location have been determined.
Fortunately, the collection seems quite at home in Bodin's two-story, 59,000-square-foot solution including exhibition spaces, a research library, an education wing, a café, and a shop within a shipping container placed in the entrance area. Formerly the home of a school for girls, the building now sports a scaffolding-style façade wrapped in micro-perforated fabric created by French manufacturer Serge Ferrari. The fabric simultaneously communicates the museum's transience while allowing for ever-changing digital displays including films and light shows.
It was also important that the museum be able to accommodate art of all different shapes and sizes. "It's a very flexible museum, which is very important in terms of modern art," says Lucie Hospital, who is project manager for Bodin and part of the team of consultants for the upcoming Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Bodin responded with a 20-foot-tall entry door that can be dismantled as necessary. Moveable walls throughout speak further to the adaptability of the space, filled with furniture (the reception desk, visitor lockers, multimedia walls) built from wooden crates used for shipping artwork. New roofs over three interior courtyards - formerly student playgrounds - create the nearly 20-foot-tall galleries used for visiting exhibitions. Formerly classrooms, the lower ceilinged galleries house Mathaf's permanent collection of more than 6,000 works of Arab art (and archival materials), from the 1840's to the present.
Inspired by impermanence and adaptability, Bodin has created a venue that translates into the future much more intelligently than many of the permanent museums existing today.