Qatar’s New Children’s Museum to Open in Al Bidda Park

The next Museum that will be open in Doha is Dadu, Children’s Museum of Qatar, the first institution of its kind in the country, designed by Dutch architectural practice UNStudio.

The Children’s Museum, Dadu, which means play in Arabic, is aimed for children aged up to 11. It is designed like children’s educational blocks, stacked alongside each other, around a “gathering space” or the ubiquitous sahn or courtyard in traditional Arabic architecture.

“This flexible space will function as an indoor piazza, a meeting point, and a hub from which all the gallery spaces radiate,” said Ben van Berkel, co-founder at UNStudio at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Dadu, Children’s Museum of Qatar has a mission to support the children of Qatar in developing their characters, personalities, ambitions, talents, skills, and knowledge, and to nurture healthy and productive citizens and future leaders. UNStudio took an inventive approach to the design, creating a museum that is an exploratory and educational tool for open-ended, self-led play.

 “Adopting the building block as its elemental form, the Museum will comprise 15 architectural cubes enclosing a central space encompassed by gardens, revealed Ben van Berkel.

A crucial design objective is to create a place where parents feel supported and children are safe to enjoy the Museum experience, cementing a positive relationship with museums that will continue into adulthood. Universal design principles simultaneously will address the needs of different age groups, from infants through to adults. Galleries will be scaled for young visitors, with parent-friendly features such as clear sightlines and single entrances and exits.

At the heart of the Museum will be the Gathering Space, a light-filled room where the community can come together and interact—a nod to the ubiquitous ‘sahn’ or courtyard in traditional Arabic architecture. This flexible space will function as an indoor piazza, a meeting point, and a hub from which all the gallery spaces radiate.

The Museum is set within Dadu Gardens which act as the green lungs of the Children’s Museum. Conceptualised as ‘living classrooms’, they use nature-driven interactive play to nurture cognitive and emotional development in children. Spanning 14,500 square metres, they welcome visitors up to 11 years old with their families and carers. Visitors can plant herbs and fruits, observe them growing, and use the resulting produce in recipes. The Dadu Gardens includes a community garden, an amphitheater, and a sculpture plaza, amongst other exciting features. The Dadu Gardens opened in 2022.

All Images Courtesy UNStudio and Qatar Museums