The National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) has started construction of the outdoor ‘Qatar TotalEnergies Playground’. The project, first announced in 2019, is sponsored by TotalEnergies and is designed by Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL).
The ‘Qatar TotalEnergies Playground’ will provide a unique experience for families to explore and discover the story of energy in Qatar through meaningful play.
The playground’s maze-like architecture is inspired by energy on a molecular level and prompts children to act the part of historic and future energy extraction, production, distribution and use through an engaging series of ‘pick-your-own-adventure’ scenarios.
Each scenario interprets a variety of stories, including the natural formation of fossil fuels, harnessing renewable energies, reducing carbon emissions, and the myriad of final products used in society.
Construction will be carried out by the Supervisory Committee for Beautification of Roads and Public Places in Qatar (Ashghal) and is due to be unveiled by the end of September 2022.
To mark this milestone, HE Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums; Patrick Pouyanné, chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer at TotalEnergies; Ahmad Musa al-Namla, Chief Executive Officer, Qatar Museums; Matthieu Bouyer, Managing Director TotalEnergies EP Qatar and TotalEnergies Country Chair in Qatar; and Saad bin Ahmad al-Muhannadi, President of Ashghal among other high-profile dignitaries, attended a ceremony at the playground site.
The commemoration also saw the unveiling of the TotalEnergies plaque at NMoQ’s Gallery 10, as well as the first stone ceremony, to symbolise the playground.
HE Sheikha al-Mayassa said, “Qatar Museums plays an integral part in fostering creativity and cultural knowledge. The Qatar TotalEnergies Playground at the National Museum of Qatar will provide a fully immersive and educational experience in which visitors of all ages can learn about the discovery of oil in Qatar and how it has shaped present-day society.
“We extend our gratitude to TotalEnergies for its continued generosity in supporting our educational outreach programmes designed to engage the wider community and visitors to Qatar on topics exploring Qatar’s rich heritage.”
“This playground will promote a necessary and crucial conversation about energy across all generations - to understand our energy’s past and most importantly its future. More than just a playground, this experience will allow children to learn about Qatar’s sustainability efforts, and to better understand domains such as solar, LNG, electricity, carbon capture, plastic recycling”, said Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman of the Board and CEO at TotalEnergies during the event.
“At TotalEnergies, we have started a transformation from oil and gas, to a wider energy mix that includes other sources of energies including renewables. The Qatar - TotalEnergies Playground addresses energies that are consistent with our strategy and we look forward to engaging with everyone on this exciting topic.”
“We are delighted about our partnership with Qatar Museums, and I would like to thank Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani for making it possible. The Qatar - TotalEnergies Playground is a good illustration of our actions in Qatar in favour of education and culture. It will contribute to developing the younger generations’ understanding of the energy landscape in Qatar aligned with the Qatar National Vision 2030” mentioned Matthieu Bouyer, Managing Director TotalEnergies EP Qatar and TotalEnergies Country Chair in Qatar.
Starting in water play, the story begins with the historic creation of the earth’s oil and gas deposits through geological and biological processes that are revealed on a play space modelled on the structure of organic hydrocarbon molecules. Children move through a series of play ‘pods’ each representing the steps in the process that transforms crude oil and gas tapped from the earth to the many products used in our daily lives all around the world, including pathways to future renewable energies.
Pathways through the play space vary as each child can choose from a range of options to follow, providing a new experience, resulting in a different end product of the energy pathway. Each pass through the process illustrates the many uses of oil, gas, and renewable energies in today’s society.
Sara Mohammed Kafood, Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Committee of Beautification of Roads and Public Places in Qatar stated, “We are pleased to collaborate with Qatar Museums and manage such an important and unique project, especially that one of the main objectives of the Committee is creating a sustainable outdoor environment that is activated by people. This can be achieved through creating destinations that contribute to encouraging all family members to follow a healthy lifestyle and choose enjoyable destinations outside closed spaces.
She added, “We also believe in the importance of implementing innovative projects that contribute to developing the skills of the future generation since creativity emerges through children’s exploration, curiosity, and following their own interests. The Committee implements projects that serve all segments of society, including interactive playgrounds for children, which develop their skills such as problem-solving, and communication with others who are involved in their playing activities."
Abdulmohsin Hasan al-Rashid, Manager, Buildings Projects Department - Projects Affairs in Ashghal, stated, “The project encompasses several challenges, including air conditioning the outdoor pods, and timely completion during the construction phase. In this respect, however, I am confident that Ashghal will overcome these challenges, as a tender was already floated, and a contractor was hired.”
Al-Rashid added, “The project includes mainly 15 interactive playing pods, of which all components are to be manufactured and supplied locally, which reflects one of our objectives that emphasise the importance of establishing and developing a sustainable local market. A mockup has been fabricated and we are currently validating the detailed design, as well as selecting the materials that are suitable for the Qatari environment”.
Playground features will also include dry mist fans arranged to provide more comfortable microclimates throughout the pods and gardens and a playground setting interpreting land and ocean energy pathways. A series of crawl tunnels in the form of oversized ‘pipes’ for children to move through the space will illustrate how the refined components of the oil and gas are processed to become a range of important products for Qatar’s history. There will also be a tower play structure representing the refinery of the oil, gas and energy story component and the development of a range of everyday products, a series of walking/climbing/crawling/sliding areas and responsive interactives, accessible for all ages, that can be played solo or with a team.
The narrative of energy industries, such as oil, is an ongoing theme explored across galleries at NMoQ, which highlight topics such as the discovery of oil, oil negotiations and correspondences, the rapid modernisation the country witnessed due to the oil industry and the impact it has had on socio-cultural development.