The Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani yesterday evening attended the groundbreaking ceremony of Dohaland’s signature project, renaming ‘Heart of Doha’ as ‘Musheireb’, given the historical significance and importance of the area.
The QR20bn ‘Musheireb’ project will be completed in five phases, with the first phase due for completion by 2012. The entire project is due to be completed by 2016.
The unique groundbreaking ceremony also witnessed H H Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, Chairperson of Dohaland, reviving an age-old Qatari tradition by leaving her handprint on the cornerstone of the ‘Musheireb’ project.
The inspirational ceremony, which marked the beginning of construction of Phase 1A of the ‘Musheireb’ project, drew from the rich history of Qatar, encompassing the country’s desert, maritime and architectural heritage.
In a televised address during the ceremony, Sheikha Mozah said: “Our past clearly reflected that communities in Qatar have always been close-knit. People lived and worked together in harmony with the climate, with the land and with each other. We had our own ways of dealing with our environment which was sustainable and human in scale, and thus, our architecture reflected the unity of our family’s identity.”
The Dohaland CEO, Engineer Issa M Al Mohannadi, said the ‘Musheireb’ project will recreate the city’s architectural scene and will strive to introduce visitors to the country’s deep roots and distinctive identity.
The handprint on the cornerstone also marked the launch by Sheikha Mozah of Dohaland’s floating Knowledge Enrichment Centre moored on the Doha Corniche.
The colourful ceremony was attended by around 300 guests, government dignitaries and renowned figures in the energy, education, real estate, environment and ICT industries.
It included a presentation highlighting the rich history of the Qatari people, from the Bedouin desert life to pearl diving and fishing expeditions, as well as the builders who constructed the charming old houses of the country.
The ‘Musheireb’ project will mark the return of the old link between the communities and their environment, where habitations were more than mere structures where people lived — they were backdrops of peoples’ aspirations, struggles and achievements, integral and living elements of a nation’s hopes.
“Skyscrapers and isolated living compounds are not the communities we aspire to in Doha,” said Engineer Al Mohannadi. “We, therefore, decided to revive our past, rediscover our traditions, and regenerate the communities we have lost in this globalised world. We will do this by combining the spirit and aesthetic of yesterday with environmentally friendly and sustainable know-how of tomorrow.”
‘Musheireb’, Dohaland’s signature project, is a pioneering effort developed to revive the old commercial centre of the city by deploying a community-based architectural language across a massive 35-hectare site.
Ultimately, ‘Musheireb’ will form an iconic landmark within the city — a district that is globally recognisable yet provides a comfortable neighbourhood in which to live, work and thrive.
Therefore, Dohaland has partnered with industry leaders and experts who were given the task of aligning the ethos of the past with the latest in environmentally friendly technology. Elements of sustainability and eco-friendly practices such as maximising efficiency in water and power usage, reducing carbon footprints, and sustainable waste management, were all incorporated in the project’s master plan.
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