It is now just over a year since the unveiling of Zaha Hadid’s Al-Wakrah Stadium in Doha, Qatar, and in the intervening twelve months, it seems like the building has never been out of the news. Most recently, remarks made by Hadid concerning the deaths of construction workers under Qatar’s questionable working conditions created a media firestorm of legal proportions. Hadid’s stadium has been widely mocked for its ‘biological’ appearance, not to mention the fact that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, for which the stadium will be built, has encountered a storm of controversy all of its own.
The criticism surrounding Al Wakrah has prompted us to look far and wide for the world’s most debated buildings. Could Al Wakrah be the most controversial building of all time? Check out ArchDaily’s roundup of nine contenders after the break.
Find out which buildings top our controversial list after the break
Aiming to encourage the use of public transportation as a valid alternative to private transportation, Qatar Rail has appointed UNStudio to design the stations for the first phase of the Greater Doha Metro Network, part of the Qatar Integrated Railway Project (QIRP). With the first phase consisting of 30 stations on 4 metro lines, UNStudio has created an “Architectural Branding Manual,” a set of design guidelines, architectural details and material outlines which will be used by the design & build firms on each station to ensure the design quality and coherence of the network as a whole.
In this powerful interview, Jean Nouvel explains his relationship to Arabic architecture. Discussing his various projects in Arabic countries – such as his office tower in Doha or the Louvre Abu Dhabi - Nouvel discusses how he is influenced by and integrates the abstraction and geometry of traditional Islamic architecture into his modern designs. He also espouses a strong opinion on the understanding of context in architecture, saying: “I’m a contextual architect, but for me the context isn’t only the site. It’s above all a wider historical context – a cultural context… each time, building is trying to continue a history, and to take part in this history.” His architecture, he says, is about listening: “The architect is not meant to impose his own values or his own sensitivities on such general plans.” Video via Louisiana.
Located in Doha, Sharq Crossing is a set of three interconnected bridges spanning almost ten kilometres in the Doha Bay. Designed by the famed architect Santiago Calatrava, the bridge will connect the city’s cultural district in the north to Hamad International Airport and the central business district in West Bay. The bridges, which are designed to accomodate as many as 2,000 vehicles an hour per lane, are also flanked by a series of subsea tunnels to manage and direct the flow of traffic across the bay.
Four teams of architects have “worked intensively to develop contextual design responses to address the challenge of regenerating and maintaining the heritage of the city” as part of a British-Qatari collaborative project to “reimagine the urban landscape of old Doha.” As a city defined by its strong heritage, coupled with ambitious plans for the future, the competition aimed to discover ways of regenerating parts of the city centre in a sustainable, yet vibrant, way.
After winning an international competition, OMA has been commissioned to masterplan a new 10km2 Airport City for a population of 200,000, linking the new Hamad International Airport with the city of Doha, Qatar. OMA’s masterplan is a series of four circular districts along a spine parallel to the HIA runways, intended to create a strong visual identity and districts with unique identities. Phase One of the 30-year masterplan, which links airside and landside developments for business, logistics, retail, hotels, and residences, will be mostly complete in time for the 2022 World Cup, hosted by Qatar.
Rem Koolhaas commented: “We are delighted and honored to participate in the exciting growth of Doha, in a project that is perhaps the first serious effort anywhere in the world to interface between an international airport and the city it serves.”
More on OMA’s airport city after the break…
Designed by AVP Arhitekti + Sangrad, the intention for the World Football Museum ‘Crystal Ball’ is to reaffirm Qatar’s worldwide position through a landmark to become a symbol of future architectural design. As a standard within the sustainability and energy renewable field, they take advantage of the natural resources and latest technology in structural design, façade materials and functionality of the whole development. This results in low energy consumption and aims for a zero-carbon emission solution. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The New York office of top international architecture and design firm Perkins Eastman shared with us their design for the Lekhwiya Sports Complex—a mixed-use sports venue that will be the home stadium for Qatar’s premier football team, Lekhwiya Club. The 19,529 sm (210,210 sf) complex also will be used as a training site and home base for a guest team participating in the 2022 World Cup. More architects’ description after the break.
There’s still a long road to FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, but the design and construction of the 12 stadiums has already started. We will be featuring as many as we can, for you to see how will future stadiums look like. To start, sports architecture experts, Populous, shared with us their design for the Sports City Stadium, located along the Persian Gulf in the eastern coastal city of Doha. More images and complete architect’s description after the break.