OMA's qatar national library nears completion in doha OMA's qatar national library nears completion in doha
sep 19, 2014

OMA's qatar national library nears completion in doha

OMA’s qatar national library nears completion in doha
all images courtesy of pygmalion karatzas with permission of the qatar foundation




construction is nearing completion in doha at the site of qatar’s national library (QNL). designed by rem koolhaas of OMA, the institution forms part of the region’s ‘education city’ – the qatar foundation’s 2,500 acre campus masterplanned by architect arata isozaki. the project will offer residents of qatar state-of-the-art public facilities and technologies alongside a variety of learning spaces, performance venues and cafés.

oma qatar national library doha designboom
the institution forms part of the region’s ‘education city’ masterplanned by architect arata isozaki




the complex will host three primary functions: the national library – a source of global knowledge relevant to the region; the university and research library – an educational support facility; and a metropolitan public library of the digital age. the latter delivers universal and shared information boasting 60 online databases and over 300 computers.

oma qatar national library doha designboom
entrance to the qatar national library




to realize qatar foundation’s vision of a library with a million books in its main collection, we conceived a building in which the entire collection would be instantly visible within a single space,’ explained OMA. ‘our design for the education city central library, with an area of 42,000 square meters, provides unprecedented immediate access to books, a reactionary approach to re-empower books as the primary medium of education and information in the age of digital technology.


the library’s form consists of two square plates (138m wide), pulled apart and folded diagonally at the corners to create a shell-like container. the sloped interior surfaces of the plates create three large terraces that are stacked with 300 bookshelves, visible from a central communal space called the urban plaza. the library employs advanced technologies such as automated book sorting systems, people movers, and electronic tagging to facilitate the easy retrieval of any of the million books in the collection.

oma qatar national library doha designboom
the institution will help shift qatar towards a knowledge-based economy




‘the library’s vision of bridging with knowledge qatar’s heritage and future demonstrates the significant role QNL will play in unlocking human potential, as qatar builds a knowledge-based economy’, explained chairperson of the qatar foundation, her highness sheikha moza bint nasser. ‘a modern dynamic national library for the country is essential in reaching this goal.’


the project remains on track to open to the public in 2015.

oma qatar national library doha designboom
the project will offer residents of qatar state of the art public facilities and technologies

oma qatar national library doha designboom
the structure’s roof canopy under construction

oma qatar national library doha designboom
detail of eastern elevation and glazing

oma qatar national library doha designboom
the project is on track to open to the public in 2015



project info:


design architect: OMA

executive architect: OMA

contractor: brookfield multiplex medgulf

project/construction management: astad project management

construction period: 2011 – 2014



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news