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Al Barahat Square in Dohaland by mossessian & partners
February 14th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal
mossessian & partners’ design for Qatari developer Dohaland wins two AR Future Projects awards for groundbreaking downtown regeneration in Doha.
mossessian & partners will receive two awards at Mipim this year for Al Barahat Square, a new civic space in Doha, Qatar and the centrepiece of Qatari developer Dohaland’s $5.5 billion (QAR 20 bn) ‘Musheireb’ development.
The practice wins in the mixed-use category and is the overall winner of the AR Future Awards. The 2010 winner was Jean Nouvel for One New Change and past winners include Norman Foster for the Swiss Re building.
The judges of the 2011 AR Future Projects Award said about Al Barahat Square: “This central element of a larger project makes a significant attempt to create a contemporary vernacular architecture in the Gulf. Public space is combined with extensive shading and its scale relates to everyday life”.
Dohaland’s Musheireb is a 35-hectare site that will transform the centre of Qatar’s capital city, recreating a way of living that is rooted in Qatari culture, attracting residents back to the city centre and reversing the trend for decentralisation.
mossessian & partners is one of four practices working on the second phase of the Musheireb scheme, a pioneering US$ 5.5 billion (QR 20 billion; €4.18 billion), 35 hectare project that aims to revive, regenerate and conserve the historical downtown of Qatar’s capital city. Due for completion in 2016, Dohaland’s mixed-use scheme will offer residential, commercial, retail and leisure facilities and involves the construction of over 100 buildings.
mossessian & partners’ winning project Al Barahat Square is a 65,000 m2 civic space comprising nine mixed-use, residential, commercial and retail buildings around a major public square at the heart of the Musheireb scheme.
Al Barahat Square will act as an urban room for the development, an urbanised version of the majlis, fostering communication, interaction and integration between different residential communities. The floor of the square will be ‘carpeted’, clad in gold paving to recreate the richness and warmth of a traditional interior. The surrounding building facades draw heavily on the Qatari vernacular, helping define a new Qatari architectural legacy.
mossessian & partners have taken cues from indigenous building types and urbanism, which is accomplished at dealing with the challenging local climate by engaging with nature: sun, wind and mass.
As shade is the first priority in comfort cooling, the design incorporates sheer density with tall narrow streets. The streetscape is very much part of the mossessian scheme: sculpting the void – carving the space between buildings – is as important as designing the buildings themselves. Deep roof overhangs and decorative screens layer the buildings and create shade throughout the year. The thermal mass of the building envelope is used as a heat sink to balance the region’s severe temperature fluctuations. This combination of strategies works together to create an ecosystem that offers a high level of thermal comfort in an energy efficient and therefore sustainable way.
Indeed, Dohaland’s Musheireb project is setting a new benchmark for sustainable architecture in the Gulf region. Dohaland’s distinctive mandate is to develop a modern downtown that takes cues from Qatari vernacular and urbanism, yet has a highly contemporary, sustainable approach: the entire scheme is targeting average LEED Gold certification, making it the world’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project.
Michel Mossessian, Director, mossessian & partners, says “Dohaland set us an incredibly demanding brief, inviting us to evolve a scheme that challenges expectations of contemporary urban regeneration in this region. The very concept of a public square, a civic meeting space, is a first for Qatar and the wider area. We feel both privileged and excited to be involved in the development of this unique project.”
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