Heart of Doha

HEART OF DOHA DOHA, QATAR mossessian & partners’ competition joint winning bid for a mixed-use development around a new central public square, Barahat Al-Naseem, sets a new benchmark for sustainable architecture in the Gulf region. The conceptual brief was developed by the Qatar Foundation and DOHALAND, out of ‘The Vision of Doha’ set out by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned. • as a meeting point, not a melting pot of cultures • a modern state in the context of Arab culture, tradition and religious beliefs • As the mother is the centre of the family, the family is the centre of the community and the state • Islam has always guaranteed the full rights of women, and women have always occupied a central role in Islamic civilisations • A Culture of quality firmly rooted in the infrastructure of the country • An environment of freedom, creativity, innovation, communication, meeting and interacting. The objective of the Heart of Doha project is to reverse the trend for decentralisation by attracting family residents back to the city centre. The key challenge was to blend cultural identity with LEED Gold efficiency. While the key to regeneration lies in re-appropriating the public realm to increase footfall and critical mass, providing integrated, energy efficient comfort cooling of the spaces secures inhabitation and long-term success. How do we create a square that mediates between public and private space, and is porous and inviting to work, play and live? mossessian & partners’ design draws from traditional spatial hierarchies as well as highly adapted passive strategies for thermal comfort. The central square acts as a ‘living room’ for the development, fostering communication, interaction and integration between different residential communities. It is clad in gold to recreate the richness and warmth of traditional interiors. How can we make a meaningful interpretation of Islamic architecture which reconciles tradition and innovation? Drawing on Islamic vernacular architecture and cultural traditions, the design of the building facades translates the accents of Arabic into an architectural language to create a new lexicon of forms to celebrate Qatar’s cultural and religious heritage. How do we develop sustainable solutions to deliver thermal comfort and energy efficiency in the heat of the sun? Learning from traditional design solutions, the design creates a modulated environment that works with nature: sun, wind and mass. As shade is first priority in comfort cooling, the design incorporates sheer density and tall narrow streets. Deep roof overhangs and decorative screens layer the buildings and create shade throughout the year. The second priority is air movement, wind towers work in partnership with solar chimneys to provide enhanced cooling to shaded spaces below. Thirdly, again referring to local tradition, the building envelope is enhanced to create a thermal mass used as a heat sink to even out temperature fluctuations. This combination of strategies work together to reinforce each other – in the way that ecosystems do. The result is a high level of thermal comfort in an energy efficient and therefore long-term sustainable way. The project is now progressing to Schematic Design.

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