/ Citymakers - Five Days in Msheireb: Designing the Buildings

How do nine practices authoring one hundred different buildings within one masterplan design together?

Msheireb Downtown Doha contains 100 buildings of all types and sizes. There are public buildings housing agencies of the national government, cultural venues and buildings and spaces for worship - three mosques and one Eid Prayer Ground. There are dozens of commercial buildings, a mix of housing types - flats and houses, hotels, shops, a retail galleria and enabling infrastructure. Bringing all these together to form a cohesive whole under the stewardship of a master developer with a strong vision is as much an inherent design challenge as it is a practical delivery one. The result, now largely built out, reveals a remarkable richness on the one hand, and a shared language on the other. Yet it was a remarkable journey to get there.

So, for the third part of our 2020 Citymakers conference, we celebrate Msheireb's architecture and its architects, interrogating how each architect interpreted the masterplan's seven steps in their own way. Representatives of seven of the nine practices involved each present their buildings as pecha kuchas. They are:

  • Graham Morrison and Simon Gathercole, Partners, Allies and Morrison
  • Olga Gomez, Director, Squire & Partners
  • Ada Yvars Bravo, Director, Mangera Yvars
  • Robert Kennett, Director, Eric Parry Architects
  • Michel Mossessian, Creative Director, Mossessian Architecture
  • Duncan Swinhoe, Principal, Gensler
  • Fanos Panayides, Director, John McAslan + Partners

Following, the Los Angeles-based architectural critic and writer, Michael Webb, offers a response. Having visited the site in 2019, he finds inspiration in Msheireb. "What impressed me the most were the subtle variations of texture, pattern and fenestration. I love the abstract geometry of Islamic ornament, the fretted screens and low relief," he opines.