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Elemental’s design concept for the Art Mill

An old flour mill that sits off of Qatar’s Corniche will soon be redesigned into an art gallery and cultural center with the help of Chilean firm Elemental, officials have announced.

The Santiago-based architecture group is the winner of a two-year long design contest held by Qatar Museums. The competition had attracted nearly 500 applicants from 56 nations.

Elemental is led by Alejandro Aravena, who last year became the first Chilean to receive the Pritzker prize, one of the world’s premier architecture awards.

Qatar Musems

Elemental’s design concept for the Art Mill

Judges lauded Elemental’s “serene” design concept for the Doha Art Mill, which entailed retaining its existing silos and adding new ones that would act as cooling chimneys throughout the site.

In a statement, QM Chairperson Sheikha Al Mayassa Al Thani, who headed the contest jury, said:

“Elemental’s assured handling of space and scale in its treatment of the silos creates a memorable and original scheme that evokes a strong sense of calm.

The team showed a love of simplicity in the use of humble materials, which will acquire a patina with age.”

Big plans

The mill sits on prime waterfront property that is located next to the Museum of Islamic Art and near the under-construction National Museum of Qatar.

According to officials, the plan is to reinvent the 80,000 sq meter industrial site into gallery and exhibition space with a “contemporary design.”

Malcolm Reading Consultants

Art Mill site

Education and conference facilities, conservation and storage areas and dedicated family spaces will also be included.

There are no details yet about which collections will be displayed in the Art Mill, or its launch timeline.

However, its scale will be significant – much larger than the Tate Modern on London’s Southbank.

Chantelle D'mello / Doha News

Fire Station opening 2015

This will not be the first time QM has given a historical building a new lease on life.

Two years ago, it converted Qatar’s former Civil Defense headquarters into the Fire Station. The building now serves as a creative hub for young artists that also has gallery space.

Thoughts?

Kamran Hanif/Flickr

Photo of Purple Island for illustrative purposes only.

A new-five year project to better understand Qatar’s marine life and uncover its “hidden secrets” is set to begin in a few months, researchers have announced.

The endeavor is being spearheaded by Qatar Museums and Qatar University, with help from Canada’s York University and Italy’s culture ministry.

It is unique in that most historical research to date in Qatar has focused on land, not water.

Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

As a peninsula, Qatar is surrounded by water on three sides of the country. The sea proved to be its first source of income, as people went pearl diving to survive.

This is no longer the case, but Qatar’s waters still hold many mysteries.

They are teeming with marine life, including fish, dugongs and other animals, and are also home to some coral reefs.

Through this project, researchers hope to find out more about the country’s past, and connect it to the future, QU President Dr. Hassan bin Rashid Al Derham said.

Digital archive

During the first phase of the project, local and international experts will explore the archaeological characteristics of the sea.

Qatari divers will also be invited to participate in the project, which aims to establish a baseline of information on Qatar’s marine history.

Jun Ong/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

As the study nears completion, researchers will produce recordings of all the underwater archeological sites in Qatar. They will also map their locations and list whether they can be accessed by the public.

A digital archive mapping underwater culture heritage sites is also being planned, using “advanced remote sensor technology,” QM said in a statement.

Finally, more information will be provided about breeding and fishing seasons, and other aspects of Qatar’s current marine life.

Thoughts?

JR

“28 Millimètres: Women Are Heroes, Pasting in Monrovia streets, Liberia,” 2008

A major exhibition containing several of French artist JR’s most well-known works will be on display in Qatar starting in March.

The anonymous artist is famous for creating large-scale outdoor installations, films, photographs and videos around the world.

A self-proclaimed “urban activist,” JR has produced artworks on buildings and slums around Paris, in Israel and Palestine, in Malaysia and Brazil.

JR

View of JR’s Giants in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic games.

According to his website, he doesn’t explain his work and aims to provoke questions and interpretation among passersby.

The show

JR – Retrospective will be held by Qatar Museums at QM Gallery in Katara.

It addition to featuring some of his most famous works, there will be a video lounge where select videos he has produced can be viewed.

JR

“The Wrinkles of the City, Istanbul, Kadir An, Turkey,” 2015.

The exhibition runs from March 6 to May 31 and is free and open to the public.

The gallery is closed on Sundays, open 10am to 8pm Monday – Thursday and on Saturdays, and open from 3pm to 9pm on Fridays.

Other upcoming exhibitions

QM has several other exhibitions in the pipeline this spring.

Next month, it plans to host the first Picasso-Giacometti exhibition in the Middle East.

The show will feature more than 120 works by renowned 20th Century artists Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti.

QM

Pablo Picasso’s The Bathers

The free exhibition runs from Feb. 23 to May 21, 2017 at the Doha Fire Station.

And in June, a portrait series called Skate Girls of Kabul will go up at the QM Gallery at Katara.

The photographs, by Jessica Fulford-Dobson, tell the story of Afghan girls who took up skateboarding with the help of a local charity that provides skate parks for kids in the country.

Entry is free and runs from June 15 to Sept. 16.

Who’s going? Thoughts?