UNStudio Unveils Phase One Stations for the Doha Metro Network

Doha Metro Network Stations | UNStudio

The Dutch architectural firm, UNStudio, which specializes in infrastructural projects and urban development, unveils its latest project: the first 37 stations on the Doha Metro Network. UNStudio has been appointed as the principal architects for the Qatari Integrated Railway Project (QIRP) in which they design a metro network that connects the communities located north and south of Doha, and also serves as the primary public transport system within the capital. The Doha Metro Network is one of the fastest, most advanced driverless transportation systems in the world and the Dutch architects are set out with the intention to merge the progressive nature of the design with the vernacular architecture of the area. 

One phase done, one more to go

The first phase of the project includes 37 stations, all of which have been finished. There is also a subsequent stage that includes another 40 stations which will be completed shortly after, and the total of these stations is spread out over four metro lines (red, gold, and green, the fourth is yet to be constructed). According to Ben van Berkel, one of the co-founders of UNStudio, they have created an open, welcoming parametric system for each of the stations. The stations are designed in a fashion that makes use of the natural sunlight that floods the Qatari landscape and the hospitable Middle Eastern tradition. The interior of the stations is illuminated by natural light that the design was made specifically to capture.

Al Riffa Station. Image © Hufton+Crow

Creating a multilayered identity

The stations are designed in a way that celebrates the historical architecture of the region; they are vaulted with light, light-absorbant roofs reminiscent of nomadic tents, and the wings of birds swooping through the air. Along with the slick designs and the vast landscapes surrounding, UNStudio was able to integrate the future within the past and find a home for such advanced technologies, such as driverless systems, in a region that celebrates its heritage. The 37 stations all stem from a single design that was tweaked 37 times to create these different stations, and at the same time, each of the three metro lines shares a salient theme to unite all its stations no matter how different they may seem. The intention behind using one master design is to provide the stations with a coherent identity that the whole Qatari railway shares. Not only does the Doha Metro serve as a literal bridge between the southern and northern regions surrounding the capital, but it also serves as a metaphorical bridge between the country’s past and future since it connects the less urbanized regions of Qatar with the capital. The Qatar Integrated Railway Project (QIRP) aims at using the most sustainable, progressive methods to ensure that this metro network keeps up with the needs of passengers now as well as in the future. The focus on wayfinding, daylight penetration, aiding the passenger flow is inspired by the ancient caravanserais, which were roadside inns specifically made from travelers to rest and recover from the day’s journey. Much like the caravanserais on important trading routes,  the Doha Metro Railway stations serve as tiny breaks from the fast-paced urban life, to rejoice in the region’s beauty and tranquility. UNStudio and the Qatar Rail Architecture Department are collaborating on developing an Architectural Branding Manual, which will be the guide that encompasses UNStudio’s vision for the Qatar Metro Network. We are anticipating the completion of Phase 2 that will be donned one of the most advanced metro networks in the world.

Msheireb Station. Image © Hufton+Crow

Project Info
Name: Doha Metro Stations
Architects: UNStudio
Location: Doha, Qatar
Year: 2012 – 2019 
Status: Phase 1 completed
Client: Qatar Railway Company
Acoustic Engineering: Arup
Structure, MEP: RHDHV
Fire and life safety: AECOM
Lighting engineering: AG Licht
Wayfinding: Mijksenaar
Technical Landscape Advice: AECOM



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