Text description provided by the architects. The new M7 Design and Cultural Hub, Doha by John McAslan + Partners is the architectural anchor of the 31-hectare Msheireb mixed-use development that is changing the way people live in and use the Qatari capital. Recently named as M7, the new centre has launched as a creative hub for Qatar’s fashion and design industry as well as a public showcase for innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. Its opening was launched with a Christian Dior retrospective.
Comprising tight-knit and compact urban blocks incorporating museums, a mosque, shopping arcades, homes, and offices along shaded streets, the Msheireb district of Doha has been designed as a ‘walkable city’ served by trams and a Metro. M7 is at the heart of Msheireb. Serene and elemental, the solidity, massing, and interlocking volumes of this substantial civic building echo elements found in traditional Qatari architecture. The design counters the sweeping internationalised urban makeovers common in the Emirates and the Gulf States and demonstrates Qatar’s aspiration to explore its own heritage while reaching out to other places and diverse cultures.
Sustainable Design. The M7 Building has been designed to LEED ‘Gold’ standards and utilises renewables such as photovoltaics and solar hot water heaters. The central atrium is thought-out so that no artificial lighting is needed during daylight hours. The form and configuration of the building are based on that of traditional Qatari architecture, which for centuries has used orientation, shading, and natural ventilation to create comfortable and highly sustainable environments in response to the extreme climatic conditions.
This design approach means that overall the building consumes fewer resources, generates less waste, and will cost less to operate, through the significant reduction of the scheme’s carbon footprint. Cooling is via a district cooling plant nearby, which provides significant efficiencies in the cooling energy for this and surrounding buildings. Water is also a scarce commodity in the region and rainwater is collected and reused within the building.