In Progress: Doha Office Tower, Qatar / Ateliers Jean Nouvel

© Tim Harris
© Tim Harris

Tim Harris just shared with us some photos of the Doha Office Tower in Qatar, a 45-story tall tower by Jean Nouvel currently under construction, with an interesting skin.

Tim says: The Tower is in the West Bay area of Doha, close to the iconic pyrimidal Sheraton hotel, built in the 1980′s when it was alone and terminated the view of the prettiest corniche’s in the Middle East.

Now there is a frenzy of building and this area has become the financial and business hub of the city. Nouvel’s tower stands amid a mixed bag of buildings some dating back closer to the Sheraton but most built in the last few years.

The adjacent cylindrical building that expands at the bottom and top, is the ‘Tornado Tower’, and has just won the best tall building award in the Middle East and North Africa.

The ‘Tornado Tower’ lacks shading and becomes very dusty. Nouvel’s tower acheives the opposite with effortless ease, elegance and elán.

Expect this building to be winning awards soon.

More pictures after the break:

Images taken 21 June 2009

Cite: Basulto, David. "In Progress: Doha Office Tower, Qatar / Ateliers Jean Nouvel" 13 Jul 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • theChavacano

    What? the Arab World Institut meets the AGBAR tower?

    • Chirag

      good observation indeed

  • three zed

    quite the obvious marriage between the two, isn’t it?

  • theChavacano

    cheater haha, i don´t if this a sort of conclusion of his work or he just ran out of ideas :) hehe

  • nothing to say

    Say what you want to say. The guy will get paid the full fee for doing half the work. Now that’s the architect I wish to become.

    • Alex

      so does that mean you want to be a substandard architect?

      • nothing to say

        A wealthy architect? Yes.

  • Drunkmuse

    The guy with the midas touch. Jean never fails to amaze. However, if I may ask the project architect…..Will Birds nest within the triplicate layers of Mashrabiya screens?

    Jean….Love your work always.

    • theChavacano

      this time he just did it

  • james

    let’s not beat around the bush…
    it is a giant cock

    • theChavacano

      The same as AGBAR

    • theChavacano

      The diference is that this pennis has a rubber, a pretty one indeed :)

  • tropicalismo360

    A marriage indeed and looking to be quite a successful one at that!

  • mark

    Plans? ventilation seems as if it may be a problem
    And honestly james is right it looks very phalic…design…i think not.

  • One

    Wonderful. A truly Arab Tower finally. It worries me still that all the money went into this facade and interior might become pretty say… basic… hope not…

    • theChavacano

      What a ¨a truly arab tower¨? So if you build this in México, but instead of arabesque clading, you cover it with ¨papel picado¨ (perforate paper) clading, it would be a truly mexican tower? So
      identity is all about the mask? Just asking

  • timothy

    Another gravestone added to the graveyard of capitalism… simple question: how to keep maintenance with this kind of architecture? Sustainable design? In one part of the world people try to do best with eco-sense, in other parts the opposite is immenent. I put the question: what is necassary? Form and function are not connected anymore, where are we going?

  • whoever

    hello you out there,
    naive little people. the guy survives thanks to good projectleaders, hords of infront-of-fame drewling you-don’t-have-to-pay-me-students. he has become an old man who doesn’t even have the word ability or the free speach left that i admired once upon a time. rechewing the same stuff over and over again and making people buy it, though, is a talent.
    looking at this building, one can imagine that like many others of his works, this one is a nice image but will not live through its life. on the other hand there they have money there so the problem might be less obvious than in some social housing projects.
    a good architecture is one that gives answer to its needs and functions(this we knew). one that has to change function on the way is a bad one that can become a good one. here just the architect stays bad.
    fame blindens the admirer! stay sharp!
    i bless you!

    • theChavacano

      This is a starchitect, they don´t project for the people, they project for themselves

  • ab

    the problem is – Nouvel said in London two years ago in a lecture – the client from Qatar actually wanted EXACTLY the same building with Agbar :)

    I don’t think the architect should be the only target here to blame for copying. his brief was simply: copy.

    if you’re an architect who has to feed his office and at the same time has the luxury to answer back a client with money “HEY NO WAY I’M NOT BUILDING THE SAME”

    instead of saying “Ok i can do something for you by doing something very similar”

    then you would not be a “normal” case and you should be congratulated.

    i don’t think there’s any problem seeing some projects like BMW 3 (2005) – the next one BMW 3 (2009)…

    but you can argue if Nouvel has improved Agbar here?!
    i’m not really sure about that.

    Agbar was better than Gherkin (Swiss-re) in my point of view, now in the p*nis series, this one is more of a mixture of Swiss-re and Agbar as far as I can see from it’s structure!?

  • thom

    This building location exactly on the sea, so it has a great view, but totally blocked by those screen layers which (I think)are going to be a problem especially in a dusty weather like in Doha.
    I think it’s a peripheral thinking to use some of the middle eastern cultural symbols (like Dome, Islamic Patterns,…etc.)in such a primitive way & use it without any further meanings more than abstract forms.
    I think this process will enrich those international forms which are the product of the (western culture) but of course will ruin the background value of the local cultural symbols.

  • Luis

    if u put more tu spheres….

  • StructureHub Blog

    I don’t mind the overall shape, but I really dislike the cladding, which seems too delicate and not appropriate for the tower’s scale.

    I am however, really intrigued by the tower in the background of one of the images – the cylinder w/ a skinnier mid-section and exoskeleton resembling the Hearst Tower.

  • Drunkmuse

    The squabbling over form is totally an absolute mute point. It’s akin to debating the logic of stacking floors as a highrise the same after the first guy to ever propose a Highrise did eons ago. Simply replacing the context makes it an entirely different building. So is comparing it to the Institude du monde Arab. The point of screen has always been about dematerializing, be it in the form of providing shade or privacy. Admire the building for having a point of view rather than subjecting the senses to the baseless Rhino-enslaved nonsence that permeates the profession currently. Have you seen Evolo lately? Ugh!

  • Tim Harris aka The Big Black & White Zebra

    Nice comments
    No response

    fight it out between yourselves… intresting point though

    I have an intern with me whose father is a project manager architect on this job…

    Despite the earlier visualisations of diagonals twisting around the tubular facade and homologous treatment of the whole… the beat on the street is that the facade will be segmented into araes of triple arabesque screen, double arabesque screen and single arabesque screen and maybe glazing…

    Certainly looks that way from the pics I took…

    What do you think?

  • Ala

    For those of you who are saying this tower is exactly the same as Agbar tower in Spain, they are not. True that the tower’s bullet shape is the same as those of Agbar and Norman Foster’s Gherkin.

    But the structural system of this tower and the two other is completely different. Agbar tower uses more like a concrete shear shell wall with punctured windows. Foster’s tower is exo-skelton structure, along with cut, vertical open spaces, spiraling along the diagrid from the bottom to the top.

    The only thing that is the same among these three towers is the overall bullet shape. The rest, which are spaces and application, are completely different.

    • my mother

      oh, yes you are right … it’s not the same engineers working on the project!
      stay as sharp and you will save more than just my life!
      thank you!

      • Ala

        @my mother,

        Architects designed the structural systems for these towers, and consulted with engineers for structural capability.
        Engineers did not design these structures but made architect’s design of structure possible. Just like Beijing Bird best and Water Cube structure design. Architects designed the structural system, and engineers made necessary adjustment (such as simplifying the complexity or modularizing the structure) to make those stand.

  • Gallego

    I hope this cocky design isn’t the uniform skyscraper shape for next decades, like Lever House/Seagram Bldg. archetype used to be…

  • ofv

    Mais c’est qui ce Jean Nouvel ?

    • whatever she

      I t’aime very much MR/MRS/MISS ofv!
      very funny!
      please comment more often here on this site.
      as you can see there are only serious people out there!
      je m’incline devant vous maitre!

  • Ala

    @my mother,

    Architects designed the structural systems for these towers, and consulted with engineers for structural capability.
    Engineers did not design these structures but made architect’s design of structure possible. Just like Beijing Bird best and Water Cube structure design. Architects designed the structural system, and engineers made necessary adjustment (such as simplifying the complexity or modularizing the structure) to make those stand.

    • do you believe what he

      dear ala,
      sorry for ruffeling your feathers.
      read (carefully), analize, try to understand a comment and its content. then eventually reply.
      “designed” and “adjustements” is what some people call collaboration. some day you will understand that and the impact this collaboration has on each participating party and when this collaboration beginns.
      and if you read again (carefully) you will see, that i did not directly accuse the engeniers to be the breeders of this; but i still am very convinced of their strong inpact from the very beginning.
      so wipe your tears, relax your cheekbones and try to get back this smile of yours!
      it is not worth getting all exited to the point of stuttering about what is just a comment about not very interesting architecture that is not even worth the time all people here spent commenting on.
      have a pleasent day,
      my mother

      • public eye

        @my mother, AKA, do you believe what he says;

        my mother, this is funny. I was just trying explain a dumb kid to make him understand why these towers are not the same except for an overall shape, which is a bullet or whatever. Do you really know how the structures of these buildings work, how the interior spaces function? I do about Agbar tower and Gherkins, although all I know about Doha office tower is what I see from these pictures.

        If you really study about Agbar tower and Gherkins, you will understand how they are completely different. Not just about different engineers and different architects Like you commented.

        I am really disappointed by your childish writing and your apparent agitated feelings.

        Reply me if you have studied these two towers I have made comments because my initial argument or comment about these towers is that they are not the same. I even had an impression that you might not be an architect when I first read your previous comment(July 16, 2009). I don’t know if you are. But I am.



  • my mother, AKA, do you believe what he says

    good morning,
    you are so right, they are not the same, they just look akin.
    (not gerkins though, nouvels are far more elegant, if i may say)
    the basic point of my words was, that i think that arguing with the fact that they have different carpets doesn’t keep them from being very, very similar. if you need to go all the way to the structure to explain the difference of skyline shaping office buildings, well …
    that is my humble point of view.
    go down and take a look at things from the point of view of the mortals once in a while.
    nevertheless, as it seems, the second tower was an order to be alike, so shame on the client then.
    the first towers architecture was not very interesting to me, so the one of this one obviously cannot either. Even though the cladding is quiet exiting.
    Here are some plans and sections

    architect, sometimes I whish I was not; but there I am probably not the only one;)
    it was nice chatting,
    see you around,
    best regards

  • Ala

    Thanks for the links. I always love to study new buildings, their styles and applications even if I couldn’t create one. The drawings are really helpful. Thank you again.

    Best wishes,


  • chacal

    I love it! everyone is discussing whether or not this tower looks like a condom or a penis… and just a few hundred kilometres from Dubai there are ethnic massacres, millions living in ridiculous conditions… sure my comment might be out of topic but after all isn’t the main purpose of architecture to shelter humans?

  • Pingback: m i l i m e t d e s i g n – A r c h i t e c t u r e M a g a z i n e

  • Pingback: In Progress: Doha Office Tower, Qatar / Ateliers Jean Nouvel / Nelson Garrido « redchalksketch

  • Geiroed

    I totally agree…

    And what does J.Nouvel, the concerned, think about it ?

    (PS: Then, boycot your car :)

  • Pingback: Nouvel’s mashrabiyya in Doha… « beyondtheduero