When they decided to build the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, the veteran Chinese-American architect IM Pei was summoned out of retirement to design it. The fact that the then 86-year-old Pei was best known for the landmark glass pyramid in the forecourt of the Louvre — still widely regarded as the world’s greatest museum — was by no means accidental. The Museum of Islamic Art was designed to make an impact: to put the Qatari capital on the map as a cultural centre and to broaden global perceptions of Islamic culture. Just five years after its opening, this groundbreaking institution is already acclaimed as one of the world’s great museums.
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