Skene Catling de la Pena

Design Community (Qatar, 2009)

Skene Catling de la Peña were invited, in collaboration with four other young practices, to take part in producing a concept and masterplan for a sustainable community on a site north of Doha. The proposal would be a self-contained community as an innovative and stimulating extension to the city of Doha. It will form a hub and intellectual exchange for creative around the world, and become the interface between this international group and local Qataris.

The site conditions are extremely harsh, among the harshest in the world. There are extremely high temperatures, high humidity, high wind velocities cause sandstorms, and a lack of fresh water. By turning these disadvantages into positive design criteria, this will become a world class, pioneering model and will become an educational resource in itself. One of the aims was to turn cutting edge environmental solutions into poetic expression:

The scheme emerges as a natural expression of the underpinning sustainable principles. The architectural rationale and the environmental logic merge to form an interdependent whole. An underground labyrinth heat exchange phase system forms the basis for a passive cooling system. This is embedded in the foundation of the scheme for maximum thermal mass.

Ultimately this project is an opportunity for total design integration to create sensuous spaces of the imagination.