Qatar is the world’s richest country in terms of per capita GDP, which affects its new authenticity, both architectural and cultural. Projects such as Education City, the Museum of Islamic Art built on an island, multi-purpose residential quarters, and transformer stadiums have turned Doha into the center of the nation’s post-industrial economy.
During the conference, leading architects and urban planners from Qatar will explain how they leverage their investment capabilities, whether the traditional vernacular style is still relevant, what engineering constraints the climate imposes, how to use the infrastructure and stadiums built for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and how the oil economy impacts architectural trends.
- 17:00 – Lecture: ‘Past, Present and Future of Qatari Architecture’
Ibrahim Mohamed Jaidah, СЕО of AEB Qatar
Oil and gas provide 70% of Qatar’s national income, but like other Gulf states, Qatar aims to diversify its economy. The gradual shift towards the new economy has left an impact on the national architecture. While entering the global world of high-rise business centers, oil cities risk losing their cultural identity, and in response to that, architects come up with various mixtures of futuristic and vernacular styles of architecture. How do you combine traditional and contemporary visions in an environmental project? And how did Qatar survive a journey from the pre-oil era to the post-oil economy? Ibrahim Mohamed I Jaidah, CEO of ‘Arab Engineering Bureau Qatar’ and head of Fire Station gallery projects, notes that architecture is not only related to the built environment but also represents the identity of the people. He concentrates on recent architectural landmarks as a result of the local identity revival in the contemporary movement in modern Qatar, demonstrates the various influences on Qatari vernacular architecture, and reveals the history and development of the geographical, historical, economic, and functional aspects of such architecture. He will give examples, including a stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the shape of keffiyeh (national headgear), and will discuss the approach to planning, designing, and building the stadium, and how its infrastructure could be used in the future.
- 18:00 – Lecture: ‘Architecture in the Light of Tradition vs. Contemporary’
Abdelwahed Elwakil, architect, winner of two Aga Khan awards for Architecture
New cities in the desert are built of glass and concrete, but in the opinion of Abdelwahed Elwakil, an Egyptian architect and recipient of the Driehaus Prize and Aga Khan Awards, classic brick and granite do not lose their potential. He believes that traditional materials and construction schemes, combined with modern technologies, make housing affordable and enable the implementation of new social programs. How is traditional construction an integral component of contemporary architecture and urbanism? During his lecture, Abdelwahed Elwakil will explain how to create authentic forms at no extra cost, how engineering techniques of the past can be useful, and what neo-classic Arab architecture is.
- 19:15 – Panel Discussion: ‘Building in Extreme Conditions’
How can parks be created in Qatar’s heat and in eternal frost areas? How can cities be built in the desert, and how can space be cleared in overpopulated capitals? The context is sometimes different but the challenges are similar. How are construction risks evaluated? During this panel discussion, experts from different regions (Russia, Qatar, Europe) will discuss their approach to the challenge of building in extreme conditions, how it forms and affects the construction market, and whether there is a universal approach to construction on ice and in the desert.
Salman Al-Mohannadi, CEO of Barwa Real Estate Group, Doha, Qatar
Salman will demonstrate how to find and keep a balance between culture, economic viability, market needs, social benefits, and minimal environmental impact. Due to rapid urban development in the Gulf, driven by globalization and market openings, many architecture and engineering firms have become global. Firms such as Barwa have a major role in the rapid urban transformation of Gulf countries and act as transfer agents of international knowledge in the urban planning domain.
Monika Konrad, project director at Strelka KB, Moscow, Russia
The new master plan for Svobodny town, developed by Monika’s team within Strelka KB, will make it the first resilient city in the Far East of the Russian Federation. Svobodny will become a showcase city where contemporary approaches to urban development – which can be applied to other Russian cities in the future – will be demonstrated.
Ville Hara, member of Finnish Architects Association, founder Avanto Architects, Helsinki, Finland
Adding a European perspective to the panel, Ville will share his experience of how deserted public spaces in cold climates can nevertheless be transformed into attractive neighborhoods with the help of engineering solutions, while adding to the northern identity lifestyle.
Mikhail Alekseyevskiy, Head of Strelka KB Center for Urban Anthropology
Khamid Taytsenov, Lead Architect at Strelka KB, Moscow, Russia
Mikhail and Khamid will talk about the urban improvement project that is being implemented in Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan and the future “City of 1,000 Oases.” They will discuss how to examine climate and urban spaces using analytical tools, what to do with this data once it’s collected, and what architectural tricks will facilitate the transformation of this post-industrial city into the cultural and touristic center of Central Asia.
The discussion will be moderated by Timur Zolotoev, Senior Editor at Strelka Mag.
- 21:00 — Public talk: ‘From Boring to Smart to Resilient City’
Ali Abdelrouf Ali Abouelsaad, professor of Urbanism
Doha is one of the capital cities in the Persian Gulf where large investments have benefited architectural expansion and influenced the formation of a new urban brand. What were the reasons behind Doha’s transformation into the capital of the Middle East’s creative economy? How do mega urban projects change master plans, infrastructure, and urban policies? And most importantly, what makes a city viable during rapid acceleration? Professor Ali Abdelrouf Ali Abouelsaad will give a critical analysis of Doha’s mega urban projects and iconic architectural landmarks, in addition to local and traditional architecture and urbanism. He will explain how mega projects such as Education City, the Museum of Islamic Art, the Qatar National Museum, the Cultural District, and the traditional Souq have changed the physical and cultural landscape of Qatar’s capital city.
The conference will be held within the framework of The Year of Culture Qatar-Russia 2018 with the support of Barwa Real Estate Group, one of the leading players in Qatar’s real estate and investment markets. Throughout the year, both countries will host cross-cultural projects, exhibitions, concerts, and festivals, as well as educational and charitable events that will bring together the authentic cultures of Qatar and Russia.