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Qatar Museums’ sustainability commitment – building a green oasis in the desert

22 April 2021

The Qatar National Vision 2030 is the pioneering plan to ensure Qatar is capable of sustaining its development and providing a long-term high standard of living to its citizens and residents. It is made up of four pillars, one of which is a commitment to environmental development. Central to that is the country's sustainability drives and its green spaces.

Qatar Museums plays a key part in that, perhaps more than some realise.

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser – the mother of our esteemed Chairperson Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani – said when the Vision was launched in October 2008: "We need to care for our natural environment for it was entrusted to us by God to use with responsibility and respect for the benefit of humankind. If we nurture our environment, it will nurture us."

With this mantra in mind, 13 years later, Qatar – and Qatar Museums – has committed to ensuring the country's vast economic growth and social development has not come at a cost to the environment.

This commitment is central to everything Qatar Museums does. In our buildings, our work practices, our events and our green spaces.

 

The pathway at MIA Park with the museum and West Bay skyline in the background
The stunning views of West Bay from MIA Park
"We need to care for our natural environment for it was entrusted to us by God to use with responsibility and respect for the benefit of humankind. If we nurture our environment, it will nurture us."
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser

Sustainability in design - NMoQ

The National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) opened in March 2019. In its first year it welcomed more than half-a-million visitors through its doors. From day one of the project, before ground was broken at the site - sustainability was paramount.

Taking this latest mammoth project as a case study, below are just a few of the key things about NMoQ’s commitment to keeping it green.

To see the full list you can visit the Gulf Organisation for Research & Development’s website.

Energy efficient design

As well as being striking to the eye, NMoQ’s unique ‘desert rose’ design plays an important role in ensuring the building’s façade remains insulated, while the interiors are supplemented by thermal mass to minimise the need for extensive energy use when cooling the museum during the summer months. The upper facade, which represents the petals of the desert rose, also provides shade to protect the majority of the building from direct sunlight – thus further reducing the need for extensive power consumption when cooling the interiors.

Getting to and around the site - the low carbon way

NMoQ is a sprawling site – 1.5 million square feet to be precise. Those distances between points of interest, the car parks, the cafes and the shops require a fair amount of moving around, naturally.

To assist with all that, within the site there are numerous bicycle tracks and pedestrian walkways. Furthermore, the site also provides easy access to the metro stations, with staff at hand to help visitors make the last leg of their journey to the museum entrance – of course all in electric-powered vehicles!

While all visitors are encouraged to ‘think green’ when travelling to the museum, those with eco-friendly vehicles such as electric or hybrid cars are given priority parking spaces at the site. Every little bit helps!

It’s not just us saying it, the museum has received widespread praise

NMoQ is the only museum in the world to have achieved high sustainability ratings from multiple internationally recognised and independent bodies. Among these is the GSAS 4-Star rating for design and build certification. GSAS – which stands for ‘Global Sustainability Assessment System’ – is a globally recognised body and considered to be the gold standard in sustainability – and four stars is its highest award category. NMoQ has also received a LEED Gold certificate, among others.

Green spaces in Qatar

It’s not only about sustainability in design and delivery in Qatar. Green spaces play a huge role in protecting the environment and relaxing the mind in any major city, and Doha is no different.

Qatar Museums plays its part in this also, and offers citizens, residents and visitors a home away from home – all the while playing its part in fulfilling its pledge to ensure Qatar Museums helps the country meet the targets set out in the QNV 2030.

MIA Park

Perhaps the most famous of Qatar's green spaces is MIA Park. Sprawling and spectacular, modern and majestic, the park is one of the most popular spots in the city for families, joggers, walkers or those just hoping to catch one of the most spectacular sunset views anywhere in the world.

Runners can enjoy the 1km crescent pathway that hugs the waterfront, while families can enjoy the wide open spaces to eat, sit, play and relax together.

Public art in the park

As well as being a green space for relaxing and unwinding, MIA Park also offers something for art lovers. It’s home to Richard Serra's 7 – a stunning vertical steel sculpture directly across the water from the museum. It is the artist's first public piece of art in the Middle East – and well worth checking out at sunrise or sunset for some of the most spectacular photo ops in Doha.

Also within the grounds of MIA Park is Liam Gillick's Folded Extracted Personified, a large-scale interactive work installed throughout the park consisting of multiple unique head-in-the-hole panels.

Commissioned for the inauguration of the National Museum of Qatar, the work draws inspiration from the collections of Doha's newest museum and the celebrated Museum of Islamic Art.

 

A view of Liam Gillick installation at MIA Park with the West Bay skyline in the background
Liam Gillick's "Folded Extracted Personified" in MIA Park

The Park at the National Museum of Qatar

MIA Park isn't the only green space under the watchful gaze of Qatar Museums. Perhaps not as well known as its counterpart further down the Corniche at MIA, but the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) also has its green oasis in the middle of the city – and it's called The Park at NMoQ.

Within The Park, you have the Heritage Garden – which contains numerous plants native to Qatar. To the botanists among you, perhaps you'll recognise some of the names below – all of which can be found in the garden at NMoQ.

  • Blepharis ciliaris
  • Plantago amplexicaulis
  • Heliotropium curravicum
  • Rumex vesicarius
  • Hammada elegans
  • Aerva javanica
  • Cymbopogon commutatus
  • Senna italica

 

The Park at the National Museum of Qatar

Qatar's other green spaces

As well as the offerings around Qatar Museums' buildings, the country has multiple other green spaces – all in line with the QNV 2030 pledge to balance economic expansion with responsible environmental management.

 

Al Wakrah Park
A cyclist at Al Bidda Park
A cycylist at the popular Al Bidda Park
Oxygen Park in Education City
Aspire Park with the stunning Torch Hotel in the background

Qatar Museums' commitment to spreading environmental awareness doesn’t stop there

Menthaar

In November 2020, Qatar Museums launched Menthaar - which in Arabic means ‘to take a closer look’. The year-long programme seeks to help participants get involved in various initiatives that will encourage and allow them to begin working to build a better tomorrow.

Through a series of tours, workshops, webinars and talks, participants have the opportunity to learn about the country’s past and its heritage, all built into the framework of understanding the importance of working together to protect the future.

Aisha Al Khater, Deputy CEO of Museum Affairs at Qatar Museums, said: “Menthaar is a wonderful way for Qatar Museums to engage its valued Culture Pass Plus and Culture Pass Family members in projects that are making a difference and contributing to the sustainable development of Qatar. It is our pleasure to present several tours and talks to raise awareness of Qatar’s vision for the future as seen through many initiatives.”

The programme is open to all Culture Pass Plus and Culture Pass Family members.

Learn more about Menthaar and find how you can get involved.

Workshops and webinars - for kids and adults alike

Throughout the year Qatar Museums regularly runs sustainability workshops for visitors of all ages. In a creative setting, the workshops teach participants the importance of things such as reducing unnecessary usage of plastics and other environmentally damaging materials - and passes on tips as to how they can make a difference by implementing small changes into their everyday lives.

For more information on any future workshops - please keep an eye on our events and exhibition page.

World Earth Day is celebrated each year on 22 April. To find out more about the day, and the global environmental initiatives associated with it - visit the official site here.

Become a part of change today.

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