On the port city of Doha (formerly where the most economic capital was generated), near the Ras Abo Abbud Expressway in Qatar, AGi have set out to rediscover the roots of the Dhow (Arabic sailing vessel) near the harbour and enrich the lifestyle of its inhabitants. Whether they be merchants, tradesmen, local natives and nomadic passers by, the users of this coastal area are given an introduction to the Qatari cultural history by this hotel and ship workshop.
As a shrine to the past and the dhow, Forepeak have saluted the old and inserted modern monument to what once was. History and culture are an important part of the Qatari identity, the physical form somewhat neglecting these aspects on an aesthetic level. The dhow holds cultural relevance and significance in the context and Forepeak translate its construction ethos into this archipelago of organic cocoons which can house different types of programmes at any given time.
Shying away from specifying – or narrowing down – the types of events that could take place within a specific space through structural and spacial cues, the hotel and courtyards look like a high-rise tower you would find in any booming metropolis, complete with modern chairs and lighting. The material used for the facade, wood, may communicate directly with the context due to its availability and aesthetic but may require extra treating due to the proximity to the sea and the high amount of humidity.
The courtyard spaces, although private and enclosed completely are designed to me gathering spaces. As pleasant as they could be, their accessibility is limited by the programmes and type of user of the tight forms that enclose them. The hotel area looks a little bit to compact for the programme.
As a competition scheme, the project has an undeniable architectural aesthetic, the section being exceptionally seductive. The model has a simple elegance that gives the product alluring textures and pleases the eye in a non-cluttered non-invasive way. The brief is quite thin, in terms of the building functions and programme, even for a conceptual scheme. The renders are exceptional and it is evident why this type of scheme would have success or gather interest from architectural and public wandering eyes.
By: Thelma Ndebele