“People interested in the Award for Architecture and why I established it in 1977, often ask me which of the buildings that have been premiated over the years are my favourites. That question, frankly speaking, misses the most important considerations that contributed to the founding of the Award. It also distracts from the understanding of its most important lessons. I say this not to take anything away from the wonderful assemblage of clients and professionals here on the stage who have been selected by the Master Jury to receive recognition for their work on winning projects this year. Each of their projects is very important, and each of them carries important messages and lessons as you will hear and see briefly this evening, and in greater detail in tomorrow’s seminar. Individually and collectively, the projects that have been recognised over the years convey the meaning of the Award as interpreted by the succession of independent Master Juries.”
Shortlisted Project – 2014-2016 Award Cycle: Doha Tower, Doha, Qatar
Doha Tower, also known as Burj Qatar – a high rise office building – is an iconic tower located in West Bay, Doha, Qatar.
Doha Tower was designed by renowned French architect Jean Nouvel.
The Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat named it the best tall building in the Middle East and North Africa in 2012, citing the way the cylindrical building uses “ancient Islamic patterns” in its cylindrical design.
Sheikh Saud bin Mohammad Al Thani had met Jean Nouvel on the occasion of the retrospective exhibition of the work of the architect at the Centre Pompidou in 2002 and invited him to design a tower to fit into the vision for the development of Doha.
It is a cylindrical volume that measures 45m in diameter. The steel and concrete structure follows a diamond shaped grid that bends along the virtual surface of the cylinder. The façade uses a double skin system. The exterior skin is composed of four “butterfly” aluminium elements of different scales and evokes the complexity of the oriental moucharabieh while serving as protection from the sun. The pattern varies according to the orientation and respective needs for solar protection: 25% towards the north, 40% towards the south, 60% on the east and west.
The internal layer is a slightly reflective glass skin that completes the solar protection. Lastly, a system of roller-blinds can be used if needed. Each floor offers panoramic views of the Gulf on the east, the port to the south, the city to the west, and the coast and desert to the north.
The tower is accessed from a landscaped garden that gently slopes towards a large lobby under a canopy of glass. The vegetation and glass canopy overlap so as to blur the distinction between nature and the man-made environment. An atrium rises to the 27th floor.
The varying patterns of the exterior envelope of this office tower evoke mashrabiyya, and serve as protection from the sun.
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Researched & Compiled by Arif Ali