Alejandro Aravena and Elemental win architecture competition for Art Mill museum on Doha Bay

Elemental’s assured handling of space and scale in its treatment of the silos creates a memorable and original scheme
– Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, jury chair

The architecture firm of Chilean Pritzker Prize winner Alejandro Aravena have won an international competition to design a “pre-eminent” Art Mill museum on the historic waterfront of Doha, Qatar.

An international jury today (15 May) announced the selection of Elemental from an eight-strong shortlist, based on their strategies for the Doha Bay site and its links to the wider city.

The museum will be built on a complex that has been home to Qatar’s original flour mills, which have produced bread for the country since the 1980s. Elemental have taken inspiration from the monumental grain silos on the site, contrasting these retained structures – which exist in a strict geometry – with a looser grouping of new silos. These will act as cooling chimneys circulating air through the site.

The concept design was praised by the jury as “a serene artwork, where the structure is the architecture”. The team’s environmental strategy was also praised for its understanding of the local climate.

The Art Mill museum will be one of several institutions on the waterfront dedicated to art and is located close to I.M. Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art and Jean Nouvel’s forthcoming National Museum of Qatar.

It will contain up to 80,000sq m (861,100sq ft) of gross space or galleries, exhibition halls, research facilities and conference and event areas.

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 project is being developed by Qatar Museums – which connects the nation’s museums, cultural institutions and heritage sites – and has been established “to become one of the world’s leading cultural centres.”

"Art Mill will be an international exemplar where art connects across cultures and boundaries," said Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, chair of the jury and Qatar Museums.

"Elemental’s assured handling of space and scale in its treatment of the silos creates a memorable and original scheme that evokes a strong sense of calm. The team showed a love of simplicity in the use of humble materials, which will acquire a patina with age."

The architects will now develop the initial concept design with Qatar Museums; climate engineers Transsolar; structural engineers Schlaich Bergermann; and global design consultants Stantec.

A gallery of all eight shortlisted designs, including the runner-up Adam Khan Architects, will be published by the competition organisers, Malcolm Reading Consultants. Renzo Piano, EAA Emre Arolat Architecture and Atelier Bow-Wow had also been in contention.

Alejandro Aravena  Elemental  architecture competition  Art Mill  Doha  Qatar  Qatar Museums  design 
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Aravena and Piano among the architects in competition for Art Mill cultural district in Qatar

The architecture firm of Chilean Pritzker Prize winner Alejandro Aravena have won an international competition to design a “pre-eminent” Art Mill museum on the historic waterfront of Doha, Qatar. An international jury today (15 May) announced the selection of Elemental from an eight-strong shortlist, based on their strategies for the Doha Bay site and its links to the wider city. The museum will be built on a complex that has
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Elemental have taken inspiration from the monumental grain silos on the site / Elemental and Malcolm Reading Consultants
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