The capital Doha – situated directly at the Persian Gulf on the eastern border of the peninsula of the state Qatar – is one the fastest growing cities of the world. To study future expansion prospects of the city the Urban Planning & Development Authority of the city has selected and invited seven international offices to a competition called “Greater Doha Master Plan – Area One” in the summer 2005. Like all modern coastal cities of the world Doha is dominated by the magic of the water and gradually starts to explore possibilities to open up the urban structure to the sea. The image of the concentric radiating pattern of the classical Arabesque, an ornamentic which has its origin in the Islamic art, is the basic idea for the future urban concept and development. Starting from the Corniche, a circular bay in the heart of the city, the astral formation will expand into the urban city fabric. Astral desert streams will generate fresh air corridors and define the image of the city in the desert. The spacious Morning Star Canal will provide the inner city ring with the beneficial water. The outer plots of the arabesque will form a technology belt comprising commercial and industrial areas as well as future research facilities. Through extensive afforestation a parklike surrounding will enclose and subdivide this for the future of Doha significant area.
client: UPDA Urban Planning and Development Authority
planning area: urban city context
planning: Oct. – Dec. 2005
Land use plan
Heart of Doha Masterplan
* What We Do: Architecture
* Location: Doha, Qatar
* Status: Ongoing
MsheirebMasterplan, Doha, Qatar
Doha’s city center regeneration covers a 35-hectare site and involves creating a modern and revitalized heart for the capital, rooted in Arabic and Islamic traditions. The objective is to create an urbane and sophisticated city core which will be attractive to the Qatari citizens. This is to be achieved through physical transformation of the urban form, landscape, land use and infrastructure.
The masterplan has emerged from an in-depth understanding of the existing urban morphology of inner Doha, based on historical aerial photographs. AECOM’s design response is to superimpose the orthogonal street grid onto an informal lattice. The orthogonal grid accommodates modern day vehicular movement and the finer-grain walkways create incidental and intricate spaces which reflect the Arab/Islamic vernacular. Implicit within this morphological proposal is an integrated microclimatic and transport strategy. The urban grain has been oriented to capture the north-westerly sea breeze and to reduce the ambient temperature by creating shades in narrow streets.
Another key urban design objective is to re-establish the relationship between the site and the corniche through the rejuvenated Souk Waqif, where urban life is weaved back into the city fabric along the old Wadi route. The intention is to reconnect the city center with the waterfront which have been severed by a wide highway corridor and insensitive development.
AECOM produced a conceptual masterplan followed by a detailed masterplan and design codes, and has recently been commissioned to act in an important masterplan oversight role, ensuring that the principles of the masterplan are taken forward in its implementation and design codes are adhered to.
Recently we did a short post on the exciting MusheirebMasterplan for Doha, and now we can provide you with some excellent images courtesy of Aecom, the masterplanners for the entire project. Keen to help us explain the project further they have provided us with some material that gives us a superb insight into the way in which the project has been planned to make the most of renewable forms of energy, not just through direct energy production but also, and most importantly, through passive means that will ultimately lower energy consumption.
Traditional Arab Town – Designed for purpose
In the image below is the town of Hofuf, in Saudi Arabia. You’ll notice the closeness of the buildings, designed to foster community as well as serve a very important role: shade and funnels for air circulation. Traditional architecture in the region called for a strong focus on simplicity, space, light, layering, ornamental detailing as well as the consideration of climatic issues. This understanding of traditional design principles formed the starting point for the MusheirebMasterplan, after all, understanding local principles will help facilitate a healthy modern development.
Public Realm – Massing
With any development, its important to appreciate the context you are building in do better understand the masses that would best suit the location. When you’re working on a development of this size, it becomes even more critical. The beauty of this massing image is how well it communicates not just the massing of the buildings themselves, but the negative spaces, the circulatory spaces, that exist between the buildings. You cannot have positive, habitable spaces without negative, circulation spaces and understanding their balance is key to success.