alejandro aravena’s chile-based practice elemental has won an international competition to design a major new cultural center in qatar. the firm was selected by a jury ahead of 25 other longlisted firms — including established names renzo piano, atelier bow-wow, and junya ishigami. the winning design references the site’s monumental grain silos, which have produced bread for the state since the 1980s. elemental has proposed to add a looser grouping of new silos that will circulate air through the complex, thus cooling the building.


the complex will be surrounded on three sides by doha bay
images © malcolm reading consultants and elemental

 

 

the art mill will be prominently positioned in the center of doha bay, and will add to the region’s expanding offering of cultural centers. ‘art mill will be an international exemplar where art connects across cultures and boundaries,’ says her excellency sheikha al mayassa bint hamad bin khalifa al-thani, chairperson of qatar museums, and jury chair. ‘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.’

 

the scheme was developed in collaboration with climate engineers transsolar, structural engineers schlaich bergermann, and global design consultants stantec. elemental will now work with qatar museums to develop the initial concept design, while a gallery of all eight shortlisted designs, including the runner-up adam khan architects, will be published by the competition’s organizers, malcolm reading consultants.

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