When complete, the Msheireb regeneration project in the heart of Doha’s historical district will feature the world’s largest collection of LEED-certified buildings. Projected to cost $5.5 billion, the city’s new heart will eventually comprise 100 new buildings, all of which will target either Gold or Platinum LEED certification. (It is unclear whether this project will weigh in on the new GSAS green building rating system?)
Construction of the first development phase is already underway. The Diwan Amiri Quarter located in the Mohamed Bin Jassm District adjacent to Amiri Diwan and Souq Waqif will feature three major government buildings, including the national archive, heritage sites, a museum and an Eid prayer ground.
The goal of Msheireb, which means “a place to drink water,” is twofold. On one hand, the developers aim to consume fewer natural resources and generate less waste, slash operating expenses, and seriously cut down on the city’s carbon footprint. This will be achieved through a variety of interventions with Arup, Aecom, and Allies + Morrison leading the project.
The buildings, which will feature a mix between past and present design that will in turn culminate in a new Qatari architectural language, will be kept relatively short and close together and oriented to capture the prevailing northwest breeze. This will ensure that the city’s microclimate is comfortable and will mitigate the use of cars.
Water and energy conservation measures will be implemented, public spaces will encourage community interaction, and cultural centers will promote a strong Qatari identity. The city will also establish a sophisticated sustainable waste management program and source high performance building materials from the local market.
Rooftop solar panels combined with a smart grid will reduce the heart of Doha’s carbon emissions, the 11,000 parking spaces will be underground to stay the urban heat island effect, and the city’s new rail program will pass through the center so that there will be ample opportunity to leave cars at home. Experts from Harvard, Princeton Yale and MIT have contributed their experience and knowledge to the project to ensure that the 100 new buildings will meet the highest standards of sustainable design.
Albeit at phenomenal expense, Msheireb could transform the way other nations in the Gulf region approach future design projects and provide a much-needed supply chain for genuinely sustainable materials. Carefully planned to unfurl in five distinct phases with exceptional attention to detail (compared to many projects that are thrown up as quickly as possible with very little thought given to their long-term viability,) it is expected to be completed by 2016.
all images courtesy of Msheireb Properties
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