/ Citymakers - Five Days in Msheireb: Defining the character

What steps were taken to help give a new heart of Doha a sense of place?

The second instalment in our 2020 Citymakers conference investigates the urban character at Msheireb Downtown Doha. It brings together two presentations by Tim Makower, Principal at Makower Architects, and Rosanna Law, formerly an urban design director at EDAW. Both Tim and Rosanna were instrumental in the development of the masterplan and its sustainable development guidelines.

While at Allies and Morrison, Tim began work in 2008 on the project, serving as the architectural language advisor for what was then called the Heart of Doha. He helped to devise the seven steps, the principles that informed the design direction and the nurturing of all aspects of design across the new neighbourhood. Tim says that while Msheireb is fundamentally a project about heritage, albeit new, it is a forward-looking heritage, which has been made possible by Qatar's internationalism and a wider attitude to want to be culturally grounded while open to the contemporary world. It's a dichotomy worth admiring.

Now a natural health practitioner with her own practice, Rosanna's previous career was as an urban designer. For several years, she led the day-to-day work of EDAW's urban design team preparing the masterplan for Msheireb, working closely with the Allies and Morrison team and wider coterie of design architects. Here, she unveils the centrality of the tightknit, old city of Doha as both a source of inspiration and the ordering element to delivering Msheireb's ambitious sustainability agenda. The approach unlocks opportunities for low-, medium- and high-rise buildings to work together to mitigate the harsh desert climate and create comfortable, walkable streets.

Following, three key listeners chime in with their take:

Dr Clare Melhuish, Director and Principal Research Fellow at the Bartlett, who studies the impact of large-scale urban redevelopments and the conceptualisation of urban heritage in multicultural cities; she was the co-author of the award-winning paper "The Real Modernity That Is Here: Understanding the Role of Digital Visualisations in the production of a New Urban Imaginary At Msheireb Downtown Doha", in the journal City & Space.

Peter Lau, who was on the client side during the project's development as Senior Manager of Design and Delivery at Msheireb Properties. He started his career as an apprentice carpenter in Japan and then went on to work for architects, builders and developers, helping to oversee major projects, and for five of these years, he was responsible for pre-construction, architectural design and public realm at Msheireb.

An architect, Rami el Samahy is founding principal at OverUnder, architects and urbanists in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Visiting Professor of Architecture and Planning at MIT. He previously taught architecture at Carnegie Melon, including at its location in Doha, leading studios on the city and contributing to exhibitions at Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art.