Qatar Public Realm

Qatar Public Realm

Valuing the vernacular in Doha’s evolving cityscape


LocationDoha, Qatar
ClientState of Qatar, Ashghal

SWA’s set of illustrative Design Guidelines promotes a public realm that is a relaxed manifestation of the Qatari vernacular landscape, and serve to maintain the locale’s cultural integrity. Unique among the fast-growing areas of the Gulf region, Doha’s landscape reflects a balance of cultural imports and exports. SWA’s design proposal seeks to manifest the Qatari spirit into all aspects of the city’s public realm. Regional aesthetics such as native desert, coastal, and agrarian patterns inform the design systems; selected materials weather comfortably in the salty desert climate and build a patina over time (copper, bronze, Corten, and desert stone among them); attention to the severe heat is addressed in the provision of shading structures and tree canopy to increase pedestrian comfort; planting is laid out in forgiving informal drift patterns rather than in grids to make inevitable plant mortality less noticeable. Climate sensitivity in the design is complemented by protection from traffic and pollution, prioritizing physical and cultural comfort for all Doha’s residents and visitors.