Art Mill Doha, Doha, 2015
Can a museum be more than a repository of objects? Can Art Mill be a paradigm-shifting museum for the 21st century, a platform where the accumulation of histories and cultures becomes a catalyst for the emergence of new narratives about art, culture, and society?
Qatar sits within one of the more dynamic regions of the globe, making Doha a most potent site for powerful visions and new ideas. The Art Mill project offers the ideal frame for the next stage of Qatar’s emerging cultural economy. We see Art Mill not only safeguard one of the most impressive art collections in the world but also nurture future creative thinkers and cultural producers, celebrating experimentation and authenticity. Opposite to a closed monument to established notions, we propose an open and accessible museum ensemble, a high-quality building that captures the dynamism of its time, connects it to the dignity of history and propels Qatar into the future.
Rather than a singular, representational icon, we see the Art Mill as a crafted urban ensemble. This accommodates a multiplicity of conditions within a clear framework for cohesion and order. The design allows the independence of its evolving parts while fostering a close interrelationship among them. As an overarching move, a series of pliable canopies spans over a tapestry of interior and exterior spaces. The edges of the canopies extend beyond the boundaries of the buildings, offering comfortable light while blurring the distinction between inside and out. The dynamic composition appears differently from all perspectives, much as the building stimulates a variety of viewpoints. This adaptive strategy allows multiple layers of history to coexist and evolve. The fusion of the industrial structures of the Mill with contemporary spaces creates a place that emanates evolution.
As an urban node, the building is welcoming, open, and fundamentally tied into the fabric of the city and its citizens. Its openness reduces the threshold between inside and outside making art the first thing one encounters. Underneath these discrete veils, the existing mill structures and carefully considered new gallery spaces form the stable anchors within a plethora of spaces. As such, the collection zones that safeguard and display masterpieces of various eras converse with dynamic spaces where new talent is nurtured and expressed. The building brings together the everlasting with the ever-changing.
This interplay of stable and fluid spaces triggers a variety of environments and experiences: grand collective rooms, galleries both intimate and large, spaces for reflection, courtyards, artist studios, restaurants, bay views, auditoriums, classrooms, and visible back-of-house spaces. The diversity and density of moments create both formal and informal educational opportunities. The design takes the cultural experience beyond the four walls, into the world around. As such more people can participate, bridging generations and cultures.