By Design: Doha’s Musheireb
When it comes to sight-seeing, architecture has a place in every destination. Musheireb is a QAR 20 billion (USD 5.5 billion) redevelopment of Doha’s historic centre. Some 200 new buildings within it are on the rise.
The place: Musheireb, a QAR 20 billion (USD 5.5 billion) redevelopment of Doha’s historic centre
The backstory: Explosive growth transformed an antique Arab fishing village into the Doha of today, an economically dynamic but architecturally generic and sprawling metropolis. Now on 35 hectares (86 acres) at the city’s original heart, Musheireb will insert a compact, walkable city centre—modern, but strongly influenced by traditional Qatari culture and construction styles. The first phase opens in 2012. By 2016, the rebuilt district will have some 200 new buildings and 27,000 residents, as well as schools, shops, mosques and cultural facilities. An underground garage for 13,700 cars will leave the streets above mainly free for people.
The beauty: Historic design responses to the climate and Qatari traditions of privacy are being reinterpreted. Houses will cluster around courtyard gardens. The lacy existing pattern of curving streets and lanes that lead to intimate public spaces will be retained, but overlaid with a contemporary urban grid. Narrow streets lined with tall buildings, colonnades, deep overhangs and decorative screens will all provide protection from sun and wind.
Fun fact: Musheireb’s central Al Barahat Square is conceived as an outdoor urban majlis—a gathering place or sitting room—with gold paving to suggest a sumptuous traditional interior.