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Friday, June 25, 2021

Qatar firm among 26 contenders long-listed in Art Mill design competition

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Art Mill site
Art Mill site

A Qatar-based architectural firm is among 26 companies that have been selected for the long-list in a global design competition to transform a flour mill on Doha’s Corniche into a vast gallery and exhibition space.

More than 400 entries were submitted during the first rounds of the contest, according to a statement from Qatar Museums.

Arab Engineering Bureau (AEB), headed by renowned Qatari architect Ibrahim Jaidah, made the initial cut with its idea to reshape the industrial complex into the Art Mill project, which aims to be “one of the world’s leading cultural centers,” QM added.

AEB has worked on several high-profile buildings in Qatar, including Marsa Malaz Kempinski Hotel on The Pearl, Gulf Mall and the Barwa Al Sadd complex.

It will be up against other well-known international practices including Renzo Piano Building Workshop, which designed London’s iconic Shard building, and David Chipperfield Architects.

That firm has previously worked on the Neues Museum in Berlin and the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center in Alaska, among others.

For years, site under development has been used as warehouses and grain silos by Qatar Flour Mills, which is relocating to new, purpose-built facilities at the new Hamad Port.

Art Mill site
Art Mill site

 

It has prime position at the tip of a waterfront peninsula next to the Museum of Islamic Art and is opposite the under-construction National Museum of Qatar.

The plan is to renovate and extend the industrial buildings to create a new cultural hub.

The 80,000 sq meter site will become gallery and exhibition space with a “contemporary design,” and will also include education and conference facilities, conservation and storage areas and dedicated family spaces.

The surrounding outside space will also be landscaped to integrate with the gallery, according to the design statement.

Contest stages

The hunt for a designer began in June this year, and is being led by Malcolm Reading Consultants.

The long-list was supposed to comprise 20 firms. However, due to the large number of applicants – 489 entries from 56 countries – bidding for the project, it has been lengthened to 26 contenders. A run-down of all those who have made it through the first round can be found here.

Art Mill site
Art Mill site

The selected firms come from countries including Spain, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and Canada.

When details of the project brief and international competition jury are released next month, the chosen firms will be asked to draw up their vision for the site and its links to Doha.

Then, in early 2016, the jury will pick just five firms to go forward to the next round. They will have to create more detailed concept designs for the conversion and extension of the Flour Mills’ structures, the organizers said.

A final winner is likely to be announced next spring, and work on the site could start in 2017.

In a statement, QM Chairperson Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani said that the level of interest in the contest “surpassed our expectations.”

She continued:

“We are grateful to be given this building (Qatar Flour Mills). In converting and reinventing it, we hope to feed the community with the latest cultural developments and artistic creations from around the world – as well as establishing a strong platform for the Arab world to present their work within Qatar’s international context.”

The artistic triangle of the MIA, National Museum and Art Mill complex, which will be within walking distance of one other, “will give our community a unique cultural offering combining art, architecture and urban design,” she added.

Thoughts?

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Ali
Ali
5 years ago

Very good this will make Qatar a more tourist attraction with the Islamic art museum and the new Qatar museum with the famous paintings which will make Qatar less dependant on oil!

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Ali

Do you seriously think people will take the overpriced Qatar Airways plane to come and see museums here? And do you seriously think Art will make Qatar less dependent on oil?
Can you name one single country that evolved from Third World status to a developed country thanks to art and museums? To my knowledge, all developed countries achieved their status thanks to their research, industry and military power.

Naser
Naser
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

we can try ..may be one day we will change your theory and qatar become more advanced country.
why you take current situations as a solid rigid facts no one can change.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Naser

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that Qatar cannot or will not be advanced. What I am saying is that art and museums on their own can never do that. First because museums are a small component of the tourism industry here, which also includes hotels, malls, beaches, traditional/cultural venues like Katara and Souq Waqif, etc. Second, even if we take the whole tourism sector with its museums, hotels and other aspects, its contribution to the GDP is negligible for now, and while it is expected to rise, it will always be a fraction of oil revenues. Finally, while tourism can be an important pillar of the economy, I t is only with a knowledge economy based on research, inventions and industrial achievements that a country can become developed.

Bornrich
Bornrich
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

I disagree. I visited New York especially for the Guggenheim. MIA is a huge pull for tourists from the GCC. Museums and galleries may be a small component of the revenue from tourism but they play a vital part in getting the tourists to choose Doha over other destinations. A hotel room is a hotel room anywhere in the world. But there are very few opportunities to see unique artists like Luc Tuymans.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

Numbers contradict you. There were 28 million people who transited through HIA last year, and only a tiny fraction of them visited the MIA.

Bornrich
Bornrich
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Okay, so in the 7 years MIA has been open it’s attracted somewhere in the region of 2 million visitors. I don’t think many of the 28 million people who transited through HIA last year would be that interested in visiting an LNG refinery.

Anyway, that’s not your point Yasine, is it? What you’re asking is how can the huge spend on the arts in Qatar be justified when there are other areas that would be more deserving or that would create a faster return. Why do you care so much about this Jacine? It’s not as though these grand projects are paid through the taxation of citizens.

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Do you think research means only scientific? Art is one of the pillars of civilization, and Qatar is doing it right. It is importing resources just like experts and resources in other industries and homegrown artists are rising already. QF univs and QU are producing hundreds of Qatari graduates in all fields including fine arts, science and literature (no matter how irrelevant you thing they are) and soon, I hope they will replace the expats and make Qatar self-sufficient.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Michkey

Come on Michkey! Art is one of the pillars of civilization? Museums the way we know them today started in the 16th or 17th century. Art is not even a pillar of tourism, as many countries have managed to build a massive tourism industry without art, such as the Maldives, Madagascar, Macau, etc. And to put Art at the same level as science is ridiculous. Are you telling us that Damian Hirst is as important as Stephen Hawking in the British culture? Or that both contributed the same way to the advancement of modern British society?

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Art is not museums, as I have stated, they are just means to boost art and inspire. Its human nature to achieve a little more than is necessary, and in this country, unlike Madagascar and Maldives, money can provide that little superfluity. Now, there are other things Qatar can do to boost tourism but are not doing (!!) but let’s stick to art. Regarding civilization, the first man who curved illustrations how to kindle a fire or decorated a pottery how to curve a wheel, are more important to civilization than Stephen Hawking. By the way, there are so many paradigm-shifting British scientists and you came up with Hawking?

Ali
Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

I think art tourism is popular and profitable too, look at France, Italy Spain and the UK. And I think there are many people form all over the world are coming to Qatar for the Islamic art museum already. I also respect your opinion research, industry and military are highly important.

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