As Qatar prepares for the 2022 World Cup amid bribery allegations and gross human rights violations, the world is watching every move. Which may explain why the Emir controls every major and minor decision – including the new Doha metro design.
Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani stopped by Qatar Rail recently to survey six designs and master plans submitted for the Doha metro project that will eventually boast 158 miles worth of public transportation within the city center and beyond.
A critical component of the Qatar Rail Development Program (QRDP), the metro will consist of four lines that will service World Cup visitors by 2022, but won’t fully mature until 2026.
Al-Thani selected ‘Vaulted Spaces’ for the metro station – an elegant design that incorporates the ancient Islamic arch as a core component.
This not only serves an important aesthetic function thanks to bright, modern materials that resemble the inside of an oyster shell (a reference to the emirate’s long pearling history – the main source of income prior to fossil fuel discoveries), but also helps to regulate both ventilation and light.
“The levels of the station will be opened to each other to give passengers the feeling of comfort, also merging the functions of lighting and ventilation in the shapes of the arches,” said CEO Saad Ahmed Al-Muhanadi, who added that work has already broken ground on 20 out of 25 stations.
Unlike the United States, where President Obama would have no say in such seemingly unimportant details as a metro design in Washington D.C., this design is so significant to Qatar that the Emir claimed responsibility for choosing one that best reflects the emirate’s vision of itself as a future world leader.
“We are proud of the Emir’s visit to Qatar Rail, as we consider it as an encouragement to us all and a motivation to put more efforts in order to provide a project which reflects the position of Qatar as a leader in the region in this field,” said Abdulla Abdul Aziz Al-Subai, the managing director at Qatar Rail and chairman of the Executive Committee, in recent statement.
“With this mega project, we are meeting Qatar’s ambitions and vision in creating a country that keeps pace and progress to that of the developed countries,” he added.
Qatar’s ascension to the world stage is both strategic and flawed. Note the various investments abroad, including London’s unloved Shard and a slew of exciting developments brewing within its own borders such as the high-tech solar-powered stadiums that will host World Cup matches.
But until the emirate’s leaders start responding to horrifying reports of modern day slavery, it remains hard to celebrate these potentially great urban amenities.
:: Trade Arabia