A computer rendering of Jean Nouvel’s design for the National Museum of Qatar. The tilting plates that form the walls will create peekaboo views from one gallery to another, pulling you along. (Photo: Jean Nouvel)

Few architects have invested more time trying to bridge the gap between the high-tech aesthetics of the West and the traditions of the Middle East than Jean Nouvel.

His design for the Arab World Institute in Paris in 1987 was dominated by mechanical, light-regulating apertures arranged in a pattern that evoked Islamic motifs. A planned branch of the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi will be shaded by a gigantic dome that turns its grounds into a kind of oasis. And workers are putting the final touches on an office tower in Doha, Qatar, that is sheathed in aluminum latticework and capped by a filigreed, mosquelike dome.


Nicolai Ouroussoff
New York Times