M U S E U M S I N T H E G U L F S TAT E S ­ E X T E R N AL I M A G E OR I N T E R N AL ID E N TIT Y ? – TAASA Review September 2013


This article was originally found in the September 2013 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 22, Issue 3, Page 10).

The full article is available for free to TAASA Members.


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Leone Lorrimer S aadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, low and flat, edged by white sand, turquoise water and dark green mangroves, may seem like an unlikely setting for the ambitious designs and curatorial programs of some of the greatest architects and museum bodies in the world.

Having lived in Qatar and the UAE for 7 years, what may seem like an audacious concept to outsiders appears perfectly in keeping with the vision and cultural aspirations of the Gulf States.

The central question is why? And what do they hope to achieve? Why would the UAE and Qatar, who only a few decades ago were simple desert societies, embark on such an ambitious program of museum building? Façade of Museum of Islamic Art (top) and grand staircase seen from main entrance (bottom)...