Qatar Museums announced today [15 May 2017] that the Chile-based practice, ELEMENTAL, has won the Art Mill International Design Competition, a global search to find an outstanding team to design one of the world’s leading cultural centres.
ELEMENTAL was selected by an international jury, from a 26-strong longlist, based on their strategies for the site and its links to the city. ELEMENTAL’s concept design for the historic waterfront site in the centre of Doha took as its inspiration the rhythmic monumental grain silos that are the industrial legacy of the original Flour Mills on the site, which have produced bread for the State since the 1980s. However, in a creative riff the team added to the strict geometry of retained silos a looser grouping of new silos that will act as cooling chimneys circulating air through the site that extends spectacularly on three sides into Doha Bay.
The concept design was praised by the international jury as ‘a serene artwork, where the structure is the architecture’. The team’s environmental strategy was also praised for its understanding of the local climate. ELEMENTAL is led by Alejandro Aravena, the 2016 Pritzker Prize Laureate and supported by climate engineers, Transsolar; structural engineers, Schlaich Bergermann; and global design consultants, Stantec.
Gifted with one of the most spectacular and historic sites in the centre of Doha, the Art Mill will be pre-eminent in Doha’s waterfront ensemble of institutions dedicated to art and is expected to become one of the world’s leading cultural centres.
Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, and jury chair said:
“Art Mill will be an international exemplar where art connects across cultures and boundaries. ELEMENTAL’s assured handling of space and scale in its treatment of the silos creates a memorable and original scheme that evokes a strong sense of calm. The team showed a love of simplicity in the use of humble materials, which will acquire a patina with age.”
“We are hugely appreciative of the interest shown by the international architectural community in the project and would like to thank the long-list and the finalist teams for their work during the competition.”
Professor Harry Gugger, special Adviser to Qatar Museums and competition juror said:
“The competition reached out to some of the most extraordinary talents working in architecture today and ELEMENTAL, known for their social buildings, won in brilliant fashion, being both inventive and indefatigable. ELEMENTAL’s wonderful design proves once again that competitions get the best out of architectural practices.”
ELEMENTAL will now work with Qatar Museums to develop the initial concept design. A gallery of all eight shortlisted designs, including the runner-up Adam Khan Architects, will be published by the competition organisers, Malcolm Reading Consultants.
The competition was hugely successful; the original open call attracted great interest from the international design community with 489 submissions received from 56 countries.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Qatar Museums (QM) connects the museums, cultural institutions and heritage sites in Qatar and creates the conditions for them to thrive and flourish. It provides a comprehensive organization for the development of museums and cultural projects, with a long term ambition of creating a strong and sustainable cultural infrastructure for Qatar. Under the patronage of His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and led by its Chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, QM is consolidating Qatar’s efforts to become a vibrant center for the arts, culture and education, in the Middle East and beyond.
Since its foundation in 2005, QM has overseen the development of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, and the Al Zubarah World Heritage Site Visitor Centre. QM also manages the QM Gallery at Katara and the ALRIWAQ DOHA Exhibition Space. Recent notable projects included the opening of the Fire Station: Artists in Residence in 2014; forthcoming ones include the launch of the highly anticipated National Museum of Qatar and the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum.
QM is committed to instigating Qatar’s future generation of arts, heritage and museum professionals. At its core is a commitment to nurturing artistic talent, creating opportunities and developing the skills to service Qatar’s emerging art economy. By means of a multi-faceted program and public art initiatives, QM seeks to push the boundaries of the traditional museum model, and create cultural experiences that spill out onto the streets and seek to involve the widest possible audiences. Through a strong emphasis on originating art and culture from within and fostering a spirit of national participation, QM is helping Qatar find its own distinctive voice in today’s global cultural debates.
For more information please see http://www.qm.org.qa
ELEMENTAL is a Do Tank founded in 2001, led by Pritzker Prize winner Alejandro Aravena and partners Gonzalo Arteaga, Juan Cerda, Victor Oddó and Diego Torres.
ELEMENTAL’s work stands out for engaging in projects that range from housing to public space, from objects to buildings, covering a wide spectrum of interests. Their unbiased approach to a given question enables the office to enter fields they haven’t explored before, generating an original contribution to people’s quality of life.