Dohaland’s dream project, Heart of Doha is poised to reverse the pattern of development in Qatar that has become heavily dominated by modern high-rise structures.
It is also expected to have a major impact on the region as well as internationally by introducing an innovative urban planning concept and promoting environment-friendly buildings.
“What is innovative is that it is truly being built for the benefit of people. All decisions are made with two considerations: reviving our heritage and culture and providing a place that allows people to grow and flourish. In the Doha of the past, human interaction was much more vibrant and it encouraged a culture that allowed people to flourish. We want to encourage people to interact with each other, persuade them to walk shorter distances so there is limited usage of cars in the area, which is why everything here will be within walking distance from each other. We want to avoid island communities, thus the Heart of Doha supports interlinked communities and retains the vibrancy and colour of activities in this area, and will make this place a place to live, work, meet and entertain,” says Eng Issa M. Al Mohannadi, CEO of Dohaland.
Heart of Doha has been planned in such a way as to reduce car use and congestion, while improving connectivity across the wider city area. It will even have an entire underground city so people can enjoy pedestrian areas and peaceful squares with minimal disruption from traffic and deliveries.
“Qatar has a wonderful architectural history and we are delighted to be able to revive it and share it with the world. Our ancestors didn’t see the house as just a house – it was a family member. The houses in this area were built by the hearts of the people and the human touch was most important. Family members would use their bare hands to build the home, leaving behind their handprints to illustrate the uniqueness of each house, and each family,” added Mohannadi.
The project will put people and communities first and encourage social dynamism to help individuals explore their potential and flourish.
Development of Heart of Doha will be based on five pillars of Heritage and Culture, Innovation, Sustainability, Enrichment and Environment. The use of certain aspects of traditional Qatari architecture featuring proportion, simplicity, space, light, layering, ornament and response to climate will be seen in the new architecture of Heart of Doha.
The project aims to blend the past and the future. Innovation is linked to a sustainable vision for Inner Doha, creating a lasting place which can evolve in response to peoples’ changing expectations and needs without losing its ethnicity.
The buildings in the Heart of Doha will be positioned in clusters and with façade articulation to respect the prevailing climate rather than compete against it. The orientation and profiles of the buildings are planned to take advantage of the prevailing offshore northerly winds.
The development will be of an inner urban scale, relatively dense, with blocks of interconnecting buildings interspersed with a network of squares and courtyards. Landscaped streets will run between the major blocks of the development, while smaller access lanes and pedestrian routes will criss-cross more randomly affording greater protection from the intense sun. Colonnades will line many of the streets to provide shading and a grand central square will become a new destination in Doha.
The project master plan observes a series of sustainable design objectives in order to create a robust urban framework while observing traditional architectural values within a modern design. The buildings are designed to make maximise use of microclimatic effects to enhance thermal comfort, ensure maximisation of water and energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions across the site. It will also promote sustainable waste management and implement a sustainable procurement policy.
On the occasion of the launch of the Heart of Doha, Dohaland will also be holding a two-day symposium on ‘architecture and urbanism: rooting contemporary developments in local heritage’, on May 27 and May 28, during the fourth Qatar Real Estate Exhibition (Q-REX 2009).
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