Msheireb Properties is creating a new cultural quarter in Doha, the first in the Middle East, as part of its QR20bn Msheireb Downtown Doha development.
Doha Cultural Forum adjacent to Al Baraha, the largest open air square at the heart of the Msheireb Downtown Doha, will host cultural events, including arts, performances and educational programmes.
As a community creative space over 18,996sqm, it will serve as a venue for art exhibitions and lessons in dance, music and fine arts, attracting local and international visitors.
“The Msheireb Downtown Doha project will blend Qatari heritage and styling with the latest clean technology, focusing on sustainability and harmony with the environment. The aim is to bring local people back to their roots to rediscover a sense of community and togetherness. The forum will play an important role by serving as a creative community space,” said Engineer Abdulla Hassan Al Mehshadi, CEO of Msheireb Properties.
Located within Phase 1 of the project, the forum is surrounded by Al Baraha, which will be the region’s largest open-air public square and in proximity to four heritage houses being restored and converted into museums.
The master plan of the forum features retail units, cafes and restaurants; an exhibition space with a gallery; cinemas halls; theatre; and education amenities featuring academies with auditorium, event and teaching spaces, and a performing arts library.
The forum comprises four interlinked blocks around a central atrium, with overhead shading providing a dappled light effect. As part of Msheireb Properties’ efforts to blend Qatari heritage and aesthetics with modern technology, and focus on sustainability and harmony with the environment, construction is being undertaken with handcrafted techniques using locally available materials such as limestone. Stone cladding is used and extends to all walls visible from the atrium, a melting pot of diverse activities at the heart of the forum.
Arrangement of the buildings mirrors that of a traditional Qatari home while the forum’s central courtyard aims at recreating the atmosphere of a souq. The facades are noticeable for their relative absence of windows, indicative of the cultural purposes of the building interiors, though the monotony of continuous surfaces is broken by coursework patterns.
Hand-carved plaster screening, featuring traditional Qatari pattern of eight-point geometrical interlocking circles will be used to control light in such a way that it provides privacy in the forum’s interior spaces, enlivened with open and elaborate courtyards.
The aesthetic influences of Msheireb Downtown Doha are derived from traditional Qatari architecture and prioritise proportion, simplicity, space, light, layering, and climate management. The project aims at changing the trend in real estate development in recent years towards isolated, energy-intensive land use and an over-reliance on car transport.
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