Tradition is our root, but should not be the chains in our hand.

Arab Engineering Bureau Group CEO and Chief Architect Ibrahim Mohamed Jaidah recently gave a talk at Virginia Commonwealth School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) in Education City to mark the completion of his new book, ‘Qatari Style’, published by Hirmer Publishers.

Qatari StyleJaidah, who spoke about his desire to document the elements of a Qatari house is well-known for his 2009 book, ‘The History of Qatari Architecture, 1800-1950′, and for his 2015 book on the Imam Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab Mosque in Qatar, ‘99 Domes‘. He carries on his examination of local interior styles with ‘Qatari Style‘.

Dividing interiors into three categories of private (houses), semi-public (Majlis) and public space (museums, hotels, restaurants), Jaidah looked at a variety of buildings in Qatar for his research to show how, beginning with traditional design, Qataris have used international travel to move through a transitional period where traditional and modern meet, and now have experience of contemporary design.

He cited as examples buildings such as the Al Najada Hotel in Souq Waqif, where water features are incorporated, the Bin Jelmood House at Msheireb Museums, where the need for airconditioning led to open courtyards being glassed in, but with the addition of a ceiling screen to temper the light. In review of a number of cafes at Souq Waqif Al Wakrah, Jaidah noted locations where traditional furnishings were placed next to modern mismatched chairs, thus creating a comfortable millieu.

At the end of his lecture, Jaidah had a question and answer session with students, faculty and staff, moderated by Dr Cherif Amor, chair of the Interior Design programme at VCUarts Qatar.

VCUarts Qatar offers valuable opportunities for cross-cultural exchange and connects VCUarts to the influential art and design world of the Middle East and beyond. The campus attracts renowned contributors to contemporary visual culture for speaking and teaching engagements, and hosts two major international events:  Tasmeem, a biennial art and design conference and the Hamad bin Khalifa Islamic Art Symposium. For more information, visit their website at