Qatar Museums on Thursday announced the shortlist for the Art Mill International Design Competition and full details of the jury.
“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,” Qatar Museums said in a statement.
The site, which extends into the Arabian Sea on three sides, adjoins the park around I M Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art, and is close to Jean Nouvel’s forthcoming National Museum of Qatar (currently under construction). It was, until recently, occupied by Qatar Flour Mills and is historically significant as a key node within the Arabian Gulf port - essential for the import of grain.
The shortlisted architects are Adam Khan Architects (UK), Atelier Bow-Wow (Japan), EAA Emre Arolat Architecture (Turkey), Elemental (Chile), junya.ishigami + associates (Japan), Mangado & Asociados (Spain), Renzo Piano Building Workshop (Italy) and Rice+Lipka Architects (US).
The eight competition finalists were selected by the international jury from the second stage, 26-strong longlist on the basis of their strategies for the site and its links to the city. The jury met over two days last month in Doha to analyse and review the teams’ drawings, narratives and models.
An aerial view of the Art Mill site
The competition’s jury members are HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani; Sheikh Jassim bin Abdulaziz al-Thani; Dr Hassan Rashid al-Derham, president, Qatar University; Professor Harry Gugger, principal, Harry Gugger Studio; Dr Akel I Kahera, dean, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar; Sir John Leighton, director-general, National Galleries of Scotland; Jasper Morrison, designer; Hiroshi Sugimoto, photographic artist, sculptor, architect, producer and author; and Professor Chris Wise, director, Expedition.
The jury was advised by competition organiser and architect, Malcolm Reading of Malcolm Reading Consultants, and Qatar Museums technical representative Maha Hamad al-Hajri.
The competition’s original open call for interest (the first stage) attracted great interest from the international design community with 489 submissions received from 56 countries, the statement noted.
The eight finalist practices will now be given a further briefing and progress onto more detailed concept designs for the Art Mill, which is conceived as a vibrant and multi-layered civic and cultural presence, a focus for the emerging campus of museums and cultural institutions at the eastern end of the Corniche.
Qatar Museums chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa said: “The longlist was distinguished by some of the most talented architects practising today - and it is in recognition of this that we have expanded the shortlist from the five originally envisaged to eight.
“The competition reached out to designers working in very different contexts and communities. So, we are delighted that the practices who persuaded the jury through their concept drawings and models reflect this diversity. They bring international perspectives as well as cultural sensitivity to this inspirational project for Qatar.
“The creative challenge here can’t really be overstated. This project offers a chance to redefine museum architecture, to crystallise the very latest thinking on audience engagement, technology and environmental strategies. The museum experience in Doha is a special one. We have a young demographic, and the habit of bringing the family to the museum, enjoying the grounds and amenities on weekends, has caught on across our society.”
Reading, competition organiser and chairman of Malcolm Reading Consultants, added: “We would like to thank all the longlisted teams for their work and commitment - this was a complex challenge as the site is of epic proportions.
"Fundamentally, the design challenge running through the project is to come up with a strategy that addresses the emblematic and civic opportunities of this exceptional site while also creating human-scaled, atmospheric spaces that inspire a deep and personal engagement with art. ”
It is anticipated that jury interviews with the shortlisted practices will take place in early autumn, with the winner announced shortly afterwards.
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