The Heart of Doha - Msheireb - Qatar

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heQatar Foundation has formed in March 2008 a new real estate company known as Dohaland Company aimed at redeveloping the old urban centre of Doha into a mixed-used district inspired by traditional Arabic & Islamic architecture. The Heart of Doha Project is an ambitious project of urban renewal that covers approximately 35 hectares in the center of the city. By advocating simple design principles such as respect for topography and ecology, thoughtful adaptation of regional norms and environmental strategies, and promotion of contemporaneity rooted in heritage, the Heart of Doha aspires to regenerate the historic core of the city and to act as a stimulus for future wider city renaissance. Its ultimate objective, however, is to propose a new paradigm of architecture and planning for the cities of the Arabian Gulf.

Demolition of the old district is to start soon, since invitations to tender for excavation and piling have already been launched for the first phase of the project. Architects are Arup and Edaw, below are a couple of pics I found in a pdf, unfortunately no detailed render yet...


April 5th

Demolition ‘on hold’

The planned demolition of buildings in Doha’s Mohammad Bin Jassim area (Musheireb) may have been postponed until the year-end, sources have indicated.
While there is no official word on the schedule for razing the structures in the densely-populated area, residents and shopkeepers said they had been receiving intermittent notices from various authorities.
“We now believe the postponement is linked to the completion of the Barwa Village in Al Wakrah. We may be asked to move when that alternative is ready,” one Musheireb resident told Gulf Times yesterday.
A field survey was recently conducted in the area on behalf of Barwa in an attempt to determine which tenants and businesses will be moving to the under-construction residential-cum-commercial complex in Al Wakrah.
“When we asked the survey officials, some of them indicated that our units won’t be demolished until the Village is ready for occupation,” a business owner said yesterday.
The inhabitants of the area have been facing an uncertain future since 2006 - when the plan to clear the area was first initiated.
Gulf Times was told in December by a government agency the first phase of the demolition would start in January, after missing the earlier deadline of September 2008, which was pushed forward again, first to February, and then to March.
Barwa Real Estate estimated in November that there would be around 2,000 cases of displacement and they would be accommodated on preferential basis at the 450-apartment and 912-shop complex, 45% of which was reportedly complete as of last week of March.
“Work on the (400,000sq m, QR1.5bn) project is moving forward as planned. Some 45% of the work has been completed. It will be ready as originally announced in the first quarter of 2010,” Barwa Village project manager Eng Khalid al-Hitmi had said.
Some of the tenants in the Musheireb locality have been told by their landlords that they could continue to stay for “a few more months” and that the rent could be paid on a month-to-month basis. The landlords have been compensated for the loss of their premises.
“At the time of paying my rent on April 1, I asked the owner again about the date to vacate my two shops and he said the demolition might not take place before October,” another businessman dealing in hardware said.
Meanwhile, the 69 shopkeepers and tenants of the 77 apartments in the ‘Titanic’ complex of Muheireb continue to make monthly payments to the owner, though they were served with a notice to vacate the premises “in less than 20 days” by the Urban Planning & Development Authority (UPDA) in January. They have since been given subsequent extensions.
“My two-year contract with the owner of the Titanic property ended in March and since then, we both have agreed to keep it an open contract as neither is sure when the eventual eviction will take place,” one resident said.
The owner’s office claims they have not been compensated yet.
“But it’s still a very uncertain situation for businesses some of who have rented shops elsewhere in town and continue to pay rents for both the properties,” he added.

April 13

DOHA: DOHALAND has launched its nationwide Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme, “Flourish”, with its first initiative — Paint the Doha of Our Dreams — supported by its mission to enrich lives and inspire people to flourish and realise their full potential.

The ‘Paint the Doha of Our Dreams’ contest encourages children across Qatar to unleash their imagination on canvas depicting what they would like the country’s capital to look like in the future. DOHALAND has invited all schools to register the names of their students in the month-long contest.

“For us, people and communities come first. We believe in interacting with the society and working together to enable people and communities to achieve, succeed and prosper”, said Imad Nached, Marketing Director of DOHALAND. The organisation will distribute a short movie designed to guide children on the concept and approach of the competition. The animation beautifully encapsulates a child’s perspective of the world, and what its dreams are for Doha.

It reaches out through a small girl, who explains how the DOHALAND values relate to everyday life. The movie will be provided to each school so that the participating children understand and can familiarise themselves with the values of DOHALAND which need to be integrated in the art projects.

The jury will include judges from Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar (VCUQ) who will select the top five paintings that best correlate with DOHALAND’s Pillars: Innovation, Heritage, Sustainability, Enrichment and Environment. Paint the Doha of Our Dreams is a unique, country-wide contest that encourages schools to involve their students between 8 and 14 years, to draw, sketch or paint their ideas of the city of their dreams.

Schools can register the names of their students between the ages of 8 and 14, (Grade 4 to Grade 9 inclusive) through the website or by calling up at 4546514. Individual painting competitions will be held in the participating schools.

A cash prize of QR3,000 and a certificate will be awarded to each of the five winners; while their respective schools will each be awarded a trophy and earn a prize of QR10,000 in art supplies.