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Msheireb: To the Future and Back

Written by  Author |   Tue, 13 May 2014 10:10


Msheireb Downtown Doha is a QR20 billion development to revive the old commercial heart of the city through a new architectural language that is based on community living, across a 31 hectare (76 acre) site. Msheireb Downtown Doha is the flagship project Msheireb Properties intended to regenerate and preserve the historical downtown of Doha. 

The Msheireb Downtown project will blend traditional Qatari heritage and aesthetics with modern technology, and focus on sustainability and harmony with the environment. The aim of the project is to bring people back to their roots – to make Doha unique and rediscover a sense of community and togetherness.

It represents the vision of Msheireb Properties' chairperson Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser: to create built environments that reflect the culture and aspirations of the people of Qatar.

The mixed-use development will comprise more than 100 buildings, with a combination of commercial and residential properties, retail, cultural and entertainment areas. The first phase, referred to as the ‘Diwan Amiri Quarter', currently under construction, features three major government buildings, heritage sites, a museum, cultural forum, National Archive and Eid Prayer Ground.

Msheireb Properties partnered with industry leaders and experts in order to align the architectural lessons of the past with the latest in eco-friendly technologies – to realize an architectural language that is relevant, enriching and truly Qatari. 

The new language will be used to create buildings of a shared DNA, reviving local heritage and culture through a unified architectural idiom.  Msheireb Downtown can be summarized in one phrase: ‘rooted in the past while looking to the future'.

Sustainability is central to Msheireb Downtown project, in terms of both the conservation of natural resources and the quality of its design.  The entire project features sustainable design that consumes fewer resources, generates less waste, costs less to operate, and achieves a reduced carbon footprint.

All buildings within the development will target an average Gold rating under the internationally recognized LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification system developed by the US Green Building Council, while several buildings will aim for a Platinum rating.

Msheireb Downtown's aesthetic influences are derived from traditional Qatari architecture and priorities proportion, simplicity, space, light, layering, and management of the local climate. The overall strategic objective of the project is to reverse the pattern of real estate development in Doha in recent years, which has tended to encourage isolated and energy-intensive land use, urban sprawl, and an over-reliance on car transport.

On completion, Msheireb Downtown will be an iconic landmark in Doha – a globally recognizable community where people live, work and thrive. 

Msheireb Properties is a subsidiary of Qatar Foundation

The company was established as a commercial venture to support the Foundation's aims, as well as the goals of Qatar's 2030 Vision.

Msheireb Properties' mission is to change the way people think about urban living and improve their overall quality of life, through innovations that encourage social interaction, respect for culture, and greater care for the environment.

Msheireb Properties spent three years researching Qatari architecture and numerous approaches to urban planning all over the world with the most respected experts in the industry – in order to realize an architectural language rooted in the best of the past that may be preserved for and by future generations.

The company's name, Msheireb, means ‘a place to drink water' and is the historical name of the downtown area of Doha. The company's corporate identity depicts the mouth of a stone well, a feature of traditional Gulf societies, and its distinct ink effect evokes classical Arabic calligraphy.

Msheireb Properties recently achieved ISO certification from the British Standards Institution for quality (ISO 9001:2008), environmental performance (ISO 14001:2004), and occupational health and safety (BS OHSAS 18001:2007).

The company has also earned widespread industry recognition, including at the MIPIM Architectural Review Future Projects Awards in Cannes, France.

In May 2011 Msheireb Properties launched a dynamic research project with the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

This joint exercise will examine the potential for sustainable urban development in the Gulf and produce a shared intellectual resource, the Gulf Encyclopedia for Sustainable Urbanism, to encourage best practice.

Ultimately, the project will pave the way for the creation of a permanent research facility in Qatar.

The project will be funded by Msheireb Properties and involve researchers from across the Gulf and wider Middle East.

Four phases to complete the project

1. Phase 1 A
• First phase of Msheireb Downtown Doha is Phase 1A, which consists of Diwan Amiri Quarter (Diwan Annex, Amiri Guard and National Archive), Heritage buildings and Amenity & Infrastructure (District Cooling Plant, Substations and Service Corridors).
a. Designs: Designs for major components are complete.
b. Construction:
i. Enabling Works: Enabling works were awarded to Bauer in June 2009 and the works are 100% Complete.
ii. Infrastructure Works: Infrastructure works were awarded to CAT in March 2010. Presently substructure works are in progress, currently 77.06% Complete.
iii. Main Building works: Hyundai/ HBK consortium was awarded the Main Building Works in April 2010. Superstructure works for the main building works are in progress and currently 41.55% Complete.
Started Design Build of District Cooling Plant (Construction in Progress)
iv. Achievement:
- Excavation: 1,377,821 cum
- No. of shoring piles installed: 2100
- No. Of Working Piles installed: 669
- Concrete poured: 248,374 cum
- Façade Stone installed: 29,023 sqm

• The preservation of four ‘Heritage Houses' is an important aspect of Phase 1A of the project. The Houses, commonly known as Bin Julmood House, Company House, Mohamed Bin Jassim House and Al Radwani House will be restored and turned into museums.

• The Diwan Annex building is the administrative headquarters of the Amiri Diwan and its outward-looking form surrounded by 'liwan' balconies is based on the traditional 'diwania' or small palace.

• The Amiri Guard building will house/ provide accommodation for the guards. Its form reflects both the courtyard house and the fort, and the fenestration within its thick masonry walls echoes the 'malqaf' or breathing wall of traditional Qatari houses.

• The Qatar National Archive building is the storehouse of the nation's heritage and is based on the form of the traditional fortified tower, becoming a prominent landmark looking towards Doha Bay, the Eid Prayer Ground and Souk Waqif.
2. Phase 1B/1C: is comprised of Offices, Qatari town houses, Apartments, Amenities, Hotels, Civil Buildings, Schools, Cultural Centre  and Mosques.
a. Designs: Phase 1B Core & Shell designs are completed except the Bulletins to be issued to Main Contractor, Carillion. Hotel ID Designs are in progress while F&B Design has commenced.
b. Designs: Phase 1C Core & Shell designs are completed except the addendums.
c. Construction:
i. Enabling Works: Bauer was awarded the Enabling Works in Mar 2010 and currently 93.07% completed.
ii. Piling Works: Swiss Boring was awarded the Piling works on 18 Nov 10 and currently 92.09% completed.
iii. Phase 1B Main Building Works: Procurement of the Main Contractors for Phase 1B is completed (awarded to Carillion).
iv. Phase 1C Main Building Works: Procurement of Phase 1C Main contractor is in progress.
v. Achievement:
- Excavation: 1,553,201 cum
- No. of piling installed: 1619 (100% complete)
- Concrete poured: 40,497 cum

3. Phase 2: Phase 2 mainly comprises Retail, Offices, Apartments, Amenities, Cinemas, Departmental Store and Hotels.
a. Lead Consultant assigned in September 2010.
b. Designs: Phase 2 Brief Validation, Concept, Schematic & Design Development stage are complete.
c. Construction:
i. Enabling Works: Ammico was awarded the Enabling Works Jun 2010 and currently 60.21% completed.
ii. Main Building Works: Package for main buildings sub & super structure works are scheduled to be in 2012.

4. Phase 3: Phase 3 mainly comprises Retail, Offices, Apartments, Amenities, Urban Spa, Day Care Center and Hotels.
a. Lead Consultant assigned procured on 24 January 2011.
b. Designs: Phase 3 Brief Validation, Concept, Schematic & Design Development stages are complete and subsequent design phases are in progress.
c. Construction:
i. Demolition Works: MMUP awarded phase 2 & 3 demolition contractor and works commenced on 22 Dec 2010 and 100% Completed.
ii. Enabling Works: Ammico was awarded the Enabling Works along with Phase 2 package and currently 19.64% completed.
iii. Main Building Works: Package for main buildings sub & super structure works are scheduled to be awarded in 2012.

5. Phase 4:  Phase 4 mainly comprises Retail, Offices, Apartments, Amenities, Post Office, Medical Clinic and Hotels.

a. Lead Consultant assigned on 11 April 2011.
b. Demolition Works: MMUP awarded phase 4 demolition contractor and works commenced on 01 July 2011 and 100% Completed except TQ/MP Core team offices.
c. Enabling & Main Building Works: All Construction packages on hold including Utility diversion, Enabling & Main Building Works.

Designation of space
• Commercial and governmental offices: 280,000 square meters (36.9%)
• Retail: 94,000 sq. m (12.3%)
• Hotels: 117,000 sq. m (15.4%)
• Residences: 222,000 sq. m (29.2%)
• Community and cultural areas, school, mosque, museum: 47,000 sq. m (6.3%)
• Parks and open spaces will cover an area of more than 120,000 square meters.

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