The Global Spectacular: Contemporary Museum Architecture in China and the Arabian Peninsula

The Global Spectacular: Contemporary Museum Architecture in China and the Arabian Peninsula

by Karen Exell


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International media attention has been drawn to the new museums under construction in some of the Arabian Peninsula states, in China, and other emerging economies, such as Azerbaijan and India. As renderings of spectacular buildings circulate with the press releases announcing new projects by ‘starchitects’ such as Jean Nouvel, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster+Associates, these museums represent a new dynamic in the production of cultural spaces. Providing, for the first time, a visual documentation of the development of these museums, the book offers a sustained architectural critique of the style of architecture that these museums represent. Examining some of these museums in China and the Arabian Peninsula, this book shows how they are less connected to local or regional cultural production than to globalized capitalist modernity. The book then contrasts this globalised aesthetic with the architecture of smaller museums that responds to regional vernacular architecture, traditional materials and construction methods of China and the Arabian Gulf. These projects are far less well known, but no less striking in their thoughtful and richly contextualized architectural approach, and revealing of a nuanced interpretation of the role and function of contemporary museums.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781848222496
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited
Publication date: 07/02/2018
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Karen Exell is Honorary Senior Research Associate at UCL Qatar, and a consultant at Qatar Museums. She directed the MA in Museum and Gallery Practice at UCL Qatar from 2011-2015, after teaching museums studies and holding curatorial positions in university museums in the UK for several years.

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