Aravena and Piano among the architects in competition for Art Mill cultural district in Qatar

by Kim Megson | 21 Apr 2016

A shortlist of eight celebrated and emerging architecture practices has today (21 April) been announced for the final stage of an international architecture competition to design a waterfront arts district in Doha, Qatar.

The studios of Pritzker winners Alejandro Aravena and Renzo Piano are in the running for project, called Art Mill, alongside other big names including EAA Emre Arolat Architecture and Atelier Bow-Wow.

The site of the new district extends into the Arabian Sea on three sides and was until recently occupied by Qatar Flour Mills, which played a significant role in the city’s emergence as a trading power.

Under the plans for the Art Mill, it will become one of the world’s leading cultural centres, with an ensemble of artistic museums and institutes located close to I.M. Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art and Jean Nouvel’s forthcoming National Museum of Qatar.

The new museum buildings will contain up to 80,000sq m of gross space (861,100sq ft). While predominantly comprising gallery and exhibition space, the museum will also have conference and event spaces and research facilities.

The wider site, covering some 83,500sq m (898,800sq ft) will boast community facilities, food and beverage outlets and family amenities. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2019. A budget for the project has not been revealed.

The eight competition finalists were selected by an international jury from a 26-strong second-stage longlist, based on their strategies for the site, its links to the city and transport networks and its sustainability.

Almost 500 submissions from 56 countries were received during the first stage of the competition, which has been organised by the Qatar Museums Authority and Malcolm Reading Consultants.

The final shortlisted practices are:

• Adam Khan Architects (UK)

• Atelier Bow-Wow (Japan)

• EAA Emre Arolat Architecture (Turkey)

• Elemental, led by Alajandro Aravena (Chile)

• junya.ishigami + associates (Japan)

• Mangado & Asociados (Spain)

• Renzo Piano Building Workshop (Italy)

• Rice+Lipka Architects (US)

Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, chair of Qatar Museums, said: “The long-list was distinguished by some of the most talented architects practising today – and it is in recognition of this that we have expanded the shortlist from five originally envisaged to eight.

“The competition reached out to designers working in very different contexts and communities. So we are delighted that the practices who persuaded the jury through their concept drawings and models reflect this diversity. They bring international perspectives as well as cultural sensitivity to this inspirational project for Qatar.

“The creative challenge here can’t really be overstated. This project offers a chance to redefine museum architecture, to crystallise the very latest thinking on audience engagement, technology and environmental strategies. The museum experience in Doha is a special one. We have a young demographic, and the habit of bringing the family to the museum, enjoying the grounds and amenities at weekends, has caught on across our society.”

The eight finalists will now be given a further briefing and progress onto more detailed concept designs. Jury interviews with the shortlisted practices will take place in late Q3 2016, with the winner announced shortly afterwards.

Art Mill  Qatar  Malcolm Reading  Alejandro Aravena  Renzo Piano  architecture competition 
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Architectural heavyweights battle it out over Doha Art Mill development

A shortlist of eight celebrated and emerging architecture practices has today (21 April) been announced for the final stage of an international architecture competition to design a waterfront arts district in Doha, Qatar. The studios of Pritzker winners Alejandro Aravena and Renzo Piano are in the running for project, called Art Mill, alongside other big names including EAA Emre Arolat Architecture and Atelier Bow-Wow. The site of the new district
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The Art Mill will be located on a prime waterfront site in Doha, Qatar / Malcolm Reading Consultants
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