Designed as part of the plan to transform the Doha Bay by building impressive buildings along the coast, the Doha Tower is a magnificent blend of efficiency and architectural beauty. The 46-storey tower has a helicoidal structure and is topped by a dome mounted with a lightning conductor. Its design is inspired by the mashrabiyya, traditional Islamic screens designed to shade structures from the sun, and is formed by butterfly aluminium elements set according to the orientation of each side of the tower.
Every floor of the building enjoys stunning views of the Arabian Gulf to the east, the port to the south, Doha city on the west and the desert to the north. The structure’s internal atrium, which is constructed entirely of glass, houses eight panoramic elevators, which rise a phenomenal 128 m up to the 29th floor. The project was completed in 2012 and is the first tall building in the region to use reinforced concrete diagrid columns in a cross-shape with no central core, maximising the interior space available for tenants.
Qatar Faculty for Islamic Studies (QFIS)
Architect – Mangera Yvars Architects (MYAA)
Three years after breaking ground, the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies officially opened as Education City’s first mosque and as a college of Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), which is a member of Qatar Foundation.
The mosque rests on five structural pillars and is decorated with verses. Underneath, water flows from four streams originating from a garden that lines the perimeter of the building.
According to Art Scape, the project management company overseeing the construction, the gardens are based on an interpretation of paradise, with the streams representing the rivers of wine, milk, honey and water, and the pillars representing the five tenets of Islam. Meanwhile, two large minarets jutt out of one side of the structure, rising some 90 m in the air in the direction of Makkah. Islamic calligraphy forms the heart of the building, inscribed on almost every element of the structure’s surface, from roofs to ceramic tiles to glass windows.
Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS) won in the category of ‘Religion – Completed Buildings’ at the World Architecture Festival (WAF) in 2015.
Museum of Islamic Art
Architect – I M Pei
The museum building has rapidly become an iconic feature of the Doha landscape. At the age of 91, Pei had to be coaxed out of retirement to undertake this enterprise. He traveled throughout the Muslim world on a six-month quest to learn about Muslim architecture and history, and read Muslim texts to draw inspiration for his design.Declining all proposed sites for the museum, Pei suggested a stand-alone island for the structure in order to avoid the encroachment of other buildings. Thus it was built on the water, approximately 195 ft (59 m) off the Doha Corniche and surrounded by a park.
The main building rises five storeys, topped by a high domed atrium within a central tower. The cream-coloured limestone captures the changes in light and shade during the day. The interior is no less spectacular. The geometric patterns of the Islamic world adorn the spaces, including the ceilings of the elevators. A variety of textures and materials from wood and stone has created a unique environment for the museum’s stunning collection.
Architect – CICO Consulting Architects & Engineers; SIAT
The Tornado Tower is located in the thriving West Bay business district of Doha. Its name reflects its architecture – the tower resembles a tornado in the desert. The impressive building is 200 m tall and offers 58,000 sq m of world-class office space on 52 floors. At night, the high-rise with its state-of-the-art lighting system becomes a shining example of innovative building technology. The lighting system can be animated to make the tower seem to be swirling like a tornado. The tower features an external lighting system whereby light fittings built into the intersections of the external steel lattice enable 35,000 different lighting combinations.
Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab Mosque
Named after the great Muslim theologian, reformer and pioneer of the 18th century Imam Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab, the mosque features an imposing building with many domes and was built with a fascinating mix of both traditional Arabic and modern architecture which includes sparkling half-moons, a minaret and large open outdoor spaces. The grand mosque preserves traditional Islamic architectural elements with its distinguishing doomed roof and is a stunning example of architectural magnificence and is a landmark construction in Doha. The ground floor alone covers an astonishing 130,400 sq ft.
Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel
Architect – William L Pereira
The Sheraton building was intended to be the cornerstone of Doha’s westward expansion. The architectural design of the structure itself was, according to architect Hisham Qaddumi, president of Arab Architects and former director of the Emiri Diwan’s Technical Office in Qatar, ‘a synthesis of the principles of Islamic art, which is based on geometric forms and their repetition, and the modernist architectural sensibility, which seeks to simplify structures to their most basic lines’.
Qatar’s first development plan was unveiled in 1972, the year after the country became an independent national state. A decade later, in early 1982, the Sheraton Hotel opened in Doha. Designed by the American architectural firm William L Pereira, it almost looked like a spaceship had time-travelled and landed in the desert.
Architect – MZ & Partners
The building’s main design approach, shape and skin is the result of a very meticulous sustainable plan. The two longest facades were carefully oriented to receive the early morning and late afternoon sun’s rays thus avoiding direct midday sun. In addition to that, fixed horizontal shades were introduced to protect the south slim glass walls from low sun angle penetration. The tower’s straightforward enclosure is formed of lightweight low-e highly performing glass, it controls solar and heat gain, preserves dramatic views to sea and the city, and operates as a transparent protective shell to the building.
Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC)
Architect – Arata Isozaki
The building was designed to reference the Sidrat Al Muntaha (sidra tree). The spectacular façade resembles two intertwined trees reaching up to support the exterior canopy. The tree is a beacon of learning and comfort in the desert and a haven for poets and scholars who gathered beneath its branches to share knowledge.
Located on the 1000-hectare campus of Qatar Foundation’s Education City, QNCC was conceived with a focus on sustainability. The Centre was successfully built according to U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) gold certification standards. The building is designed to operate efficiently with innovations such as water conservation and energy-efficient fixtures.
Aspire Tower/The Torch–Doha
Architect – Hadi Simaan
Aspire Tower, also known as The Torch Doha, is a 300-metre-tall skyscraper hotel located in the Aspire Zone complex. Designed by architect Hadi Simaan and AREP, and engineer Ove Arup and Partners, the tower served as the focal point for the 15th Asian Games hosted by Qatar in December 2006. The tower is currently the tallest structure and building in Doha and Qatar.
Zig Zag Towers
Contrary to the common belief that leaning volumes are difficult to structure, the leans of the Zig Zag towers, their defining architectural characteristic, were achieved with the usual vertical structure in addition to a supportive leaning structure using cantilevers.
Each tower consists of 34 floors of residential apartments, conveniently allocating one tower for leasing and another for full ownership. The project occupies a total area of 262,000 sq m, rising proudly to a height of 144 m above sea level allowing the unique and wavy shape of the towers to be reflected in the water.
Architect – Jean Nouvel
Currently under construction, this museum will definitely be another eye catching piece in Qatar. It is scheduled to open this year.
The interlocking disc design by Jean Nouvel is inspired by the desert rose. The space will be a thriving hub for the public, students, and museum professionals. It will redefine the role of a cultural institution, fostering a spirit of participation and providing the conditions for discovery to thrive.
Katara Towers will stand to be the future hospitality landmark in Lusail City, with an architectural design inspired by the seal of Qatar.
The crossed swords of the country’s seal have been architecturally translated into twin arched towers that rise gracefully from the podium level, while the landscaped gardens and palm trees reflect in the ocean frontage. The towers are projected to open in 2018.