Doha’s Wind Towers
Ever wonder how people stayed cool before air-conditioning, especially in environments like the Middle East? In Doha, the wind tower was a surprisingly effective way to stay cool despite the desert heat.
Sitting on the Arabian Gulf, Four Seasons Hotel Doha has its own beautiful beach—and the occasional full moon. But what really stands out architecturally are the two graceful wind towers rising along the beachfront promenade. One of the wind towers houses the Pool Grill restaurant; the other, the Kids for All Seasons.
Wind towers are a traditional solution in Middle Eastern architecture for natural “air conditioning.” Usually square, the typical wind tower is a tall structure with vertical openings in all directions at the top. It catches the wind and acts as a funnel, creating a circulation of air in the rooms below. Sturdy walls and masonry, and sometimes water reservoirs, also help keep out the heat and keep in any cool night air. The result can be surprising: wind towers are able to chill lower-level spaces in the middle of the hot desert day to frigid temperatures.
Of course, almost all buildings in the Middle East are now air-conditioned and the need for a functional wind tower has disappeared. In addition to the decorative towers along the beach at Four Seasons, visitors to Doha can see another in the courtyard of the Najada Shopping Plaza on Grand Harnad Avenue.
Wind towers can be seen throughout the Gulf region and are considered an element of local identity. So if your travels take you to Doha, you and your kids can experience a slice of authentic Middle Eastern architecture—even though you will be cooled by modern air conditioning!