In the past decade, Qatar's population has experienced unprecedented growth. The country has nearly trebled in size, from 522,000 residents in 1997, to over 1,500,000 today. Of that total, 82% is said to live in the metropolitan area of Doha. As phenomenal as this growth may be, however, it is both environmentally and culturally unsustainable. Until now, the tendency has been to build in a speculative manner — a tendency to build all at once without full consideration of how to fill it. As a result, a sprawl of air-conditioned two and three story buildings dominates the landscape. The climatic constraints are real: while the weather is quite livable for half the year, the hottest four to six months of the year can be difficult to bear, with little rainfall to offset the extreme temperatures.

Architects and urban designers address these issues in a manner that is unique to the design field, an approach that can be termed ‘design research’. It is both quantitative and qualitative in nature, and necessitates an iterative approach whereby proposals, based on initial collection of data, are created and then refined as a result of reflection on the artifact created. In this sense, the act of creation itself becomes part of the research, and a means towards a solution.

For this project, the solution proposed centers on an idealized box, a simple yet carefully calibrated object that accommodates a plethora of programs, structural options and enclosures. The box can accept myriad functions and can be easily transported to the site on an as-needed basis. A variety of façade and roof strategies based on performative criteria can help reduce solar gain and create a richly diverse architectural language. Orientation and function dictate not only the façade direction, but also the building massings, as well as height and distance between buildings, thereby resulting in shaded and well-ventilated streets. With a set of basic rules, the aggregation of buildings can occur organically over time, as opposed to the current model. At each stage of development, appropriately-scaled public spaces accompany the buildings, including the garden, the courtyard and the plaza.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. R. El Samahy, K. Hutzell, K. Ricco, S. Gregson, Ecologies of scale: strategies for designing culturally and environmentally relevant neighborhoods in Doha, Qatar, QFARF Proceedings, 2010, EEP14.
    [Google Scholar]
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error