Just a few years ago, Doha, the Qatari capital, was referred to as a “sleepy town” (Lonely Planet, 2008). Nevertheless, as a result of its position in the global energy market, the country is going through massive expansion and has the resources to support this growth. Considering Qatar’s current thrive into a post-oil paradigm where knowledge economy might be the generative force for development, an examination of how the State’s new museums contribute to Qatar’s new vision becomes so relevant. This paper analyzes the process of constructing a new urban brand; Dohaization, and the role of new museums in substantiating such brand and new identity. A quest for identity, in the contemporary moment, implies twofold pursuits. First, it would speak to the locality and relate to the community heritage and roots. Second, it should respect the global aspirations and each city’s compelling desire to accommodate a place on the global stage and to brand itself as a global city attracting tourists, knowledge workers and global citizens. The paper will then exploit the findings of this discussion in the assessment and critical review of the two selected museums MIA and QNM.This paper critically narrates the case of two iconic museums in the contemporary urbanization of Doha. By analyzing the process of constructing a new urban identity for Qatar, the paper examines the role of museums in approaching a new paradigm by moving from consuming old heritage to constructing a new tradition and manufacturing an alternative contemporary heritage. The paper addresses crucial questions such as: What is the relation between building museums and pursuing a future development vision? Can the architecture of museums and urbanization facilitate a different level of community engagement?


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  • Received: 22 April 2015
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