Based on typical Qatari architecture, the residential buildings forming part of the Msheireb Doha development make reference to the treasured aspects of a traditional Qatari villa - reinventing the typology to work within the parameters of the masterplan. Approaching the design in this way enabled the practice to respect the cultural heritage of the region, utilising the key elements of traditional architecture, yet re-interpreting them for a contemporary lifestyle. Traditional homes in the region are comprised of three key architectural elements. Firstly, light coloured stone walling with small apertures, then a darker, warm brown screening, musharabiya. Finally, once you enter into the space beyond these wall systems, there is a hidden central courtyard. The concept therefore borrowed from the aesthetics of the architecture and just as importantly, the functionality - shade and diffusion of light, plus privacy, as the main starting point for the design.
The light stone buildings - a diversion from the screens - are punctuated by small apertures within the stone itself, which are very much about enclosure and privacy. Exaggerating the stacking of upper levels to create shade was another reference to traditional architecture. This idea was further developed with external atria to create a private villa experience within an apartment space. The linear buildings wrapped in a warm brown are symbolic of the traditional musharabiya used in between the stonework on a typical Qatari villa. The use of the warm brown retains a sense of heritage, but the unity of colour is un-mistakably contemporary. The idea of a ‘gem’ building is in-keeping with the discovery of a hidden courtyard that offers respite and a surprise element in a typical villa. This building sits in the very heart of the ‘super-block’, which is well-protected around the outside by the surrounding stone buildings and unfolds subtly as visitors walk through the superblock.