With Qatar’s vision to stage the World cup in 2022, and its ambition to create a world class city, our commitment goes further to ensure that this new city remains a valuable cultural legacy for Qatar – far beyond 2022. “Qatar believes that being appointed to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022 will be a catalyst for developments both in the country and more broadly in the Middle East”. While developing and changing, Qatar seeks to hold on to its rich cultural heritage while embracing cutting edge technology. The Qatar World Cup 2022 Bid Committee has set up an Urban Design Competition for a Concept design to meet the vision set out above for a new city that will facilitate hosting of the World Cup in 2022. The committee expects a design that ‘reflects a high degree of creativity in the design solution for the city, setting Qatar’s city standards apart from other globally loved and recognised cities’.
The proposed design concept focuses on manifesting Qatar’s Cultural Heritage and create a unique representation of the Gulf region. In order to fulfil FIFA’s requirements to the maximum extent, the proposed city – New Al-Shamal – comprises the following components : public transport station, venue specific team hotels, base camp hotels and referee hotels, touristic and recreational amenities, training sites and a hospital. In addition, since sustainable development is vital to Qatar’s future, the proposed strategies are environmentally safe and minimise adverse environmental impact.
More information about this project Context | Site Conditions | Growing tourism | Environmental impact | Design Approach | Proposal 1: The Marina | Proposal 2: Tripolis | Sustainable practices | Social sustainability
Centrally located in the Persian Gulf, Qatar has already established itself as an important center for sport in the region as Doha has played host to a large number of international sport events. Doha hosted the Asian Games in 2006 and has been selected to host Asia’s biggest football event: the Asian Football Cup for the second time in 2011.
The proposed ‘New Al-Shamal City’ site is situated at the northern coastal edge of Qatar’s beautiful peninsula. It is located between the existing ‘Madinat Al-Shamal’ town – an administrative center for several coastal towns – and the historic Al-Zubara town to the west. Al-Zubara is an important archaeological site famous for its old fort. The town dates back to 1600 where due to the absence of a dominant ruler, insecurity and rivalry led the inhabitants to build walled towns and forts to protect themselves. The proposed ‘New Al-Shamal City’ site is situated in a way to harness the richness of Qatar’s coastal conditions, Qatar’s cultural heritage and existing urban conditions. In its current state, the project site, has nothing except for its natural coast line and few ruins from the past fishing village. It is one of the few coastal areas left in the country which has not been disturbed by coastal developments and is yet to be explored.
The site is relatively flat with a 3km coastline that has a level change of about 9m. This coastal character, which spreads beyond the site’s boundaries, provides a sense of vastness and endlessness towards the sea in the north and the desert in the south.
One of the most prominent characteristics of the site is its very shallow coastline stretching 2.5 to 3 km with a depth of less than 1m. This typical condition all along the coast of Qatari peninsula and most of Gulf regions presents a challenge to coastal developments. Typical solutions have required major land reclamation efforts and invasive coastal re-engineering. In this proposal, this challenge is turned into an opportunity.
With the large amount of capital investment in tourism in Qatar, the government has announced its ambition to increase the annual visitor population to 1.5 million people by year 2010 and the number of hotel rooms from 7,000 rooms in 2007 to 26,000 rooms by 2012. The ambition is to increase tourism by promoting destinations and attractions throughout the country beyond the Doha vicinity; that includes business, culture, education, leisure, and sports destinations. Currently the majority of visitors to Qatar are business related with an average stay of 1-2 days in the Doha area.
Located close to several historical tourism attractions and heritage sites, the New Al-Shamal project site is a perfect location for a resort type development which can work as a new base for the exploration of the northern Qatar region. With the upcoming causeway bridge connecting the site to Manama and Dammam, the site would be directly connected to and surrounded by several highly populated cities. The site is close to large cities and yet offers an opportunity for isolation, making it the ideal spot for leisure and relaxation.
Coastal developments involving large-scale dredging and land reclamation are recently facing global criticism due to threats to the marine life; especially coral reefs and shallow intertidal ecosystems. The gravity of this problem is evident in different parts of the peninsula and is now being addressed by the Qatar Ministry of Environment through several Environmental Protection measures emphasizing the importance of protecting coastal ecology, marine resources and mangroves. This is no exception for the development of New Al Shamal, as the entire site faces a long shallow coastline with a wide area of intertidal zone and coral communities. The habitats for most of the endangered species – sea turtles and dugongs – are located at coastal shallow areas where large coral communities and sea grass beds are nested. Invasive developments around the coast greatly destroys entire marine ecosystems and coastal dependent species, and thus the very attraction of the site itself.
After detailed investigation, the site has revealed several constraints and challenges for creating an ideal waterfront development. With the existing site condition of shallow coastline and tidal changes, the natural condition of the site is not ideal for coastal resort development. To become such a development, it will require major coastal re-engineering, which is not an option since it entails invasive impact on the coastal environment and ecosystems. Consequently, the approach is to embrace the problem; transform the site constraints into unique opportunities. Two opposite design solutions are born, each aimed at harnessing the waterfront while preserving the coastal condition:
01. The Marina: bringing the water into the city
02. Tripolis: extending the city into the water
Both concepts preserve the natural coastline while harnessing the site constraints into unique opportunities and world class attractions.
In this proposal, the city is situated in-land and impregnated at its heart with a grand water body – a Marina. Consequently, the city exploits its proximity to the sea through an introverted waterfront condition, without invading the coast. The Marina is an 800x800m2 large forum where all the city’s aquatic activities converge. Due to its direct channel to the deep sea, the Marina reflects the waterfront condition at all times, including the change of tide. The Marina will provide opportunities for aquatic activities including yachting, fishing, and beachfront.
By carefully studying the site and accepting its peculiarities and constraints this proposal embraces the issues, particularly the shallow coastal condition and change of tide. Like a perfect frame, Tripolis captures the best moments on land and in water. Tripolis offers the best of each different urban areas and allows them to co-exist in the most attractive light. Accepting the natural geographic diversity, Tripolis presents three distinct city conditions (hence the name ‘tri-polis’): the inland residential and sports city, the coastal hotel resort, and the floating gulf villas.
Furthermore, the changing tidal condition of the coast requires areas of the resort to be permeable to the changes and function whether its basins are dry or flooded: creating a unique city that is constantly transformed by its dynamic, natural geographic conditions – Medina by day, Venice by night.
For the Al-Shamal development a holistic sustainability approach is adopted. The elements of sustainable urban structures are the integration of a walkable environment, diverse urban plannings and high-performance buildings and infrastructure. The aims are to reduce energy consumption, provide high quality outdoor and indoor environments and reduce CO2 footprint. All buildings are designed to reduce their energy demand and thus contribute to a sustainable urban development. External shading, appropriate glazing and thermal insulation of walls and roofs with low u-values help prevent outside heat to enter the buildings. Cooling & energy loads are reduced by use of highly efficient building systems such as ventilation systems. Daylight is optimized to reduce the need for artificial lighting. Alternative energy sources like solar power generation cover parts of the energy demand of the buildings. Waste heat recovery ensures that no energy produced within the development is lost.
Social sustainability is defined by a healthy, vivid city and prosperous living conditions. A number of dynamics are integrated in the development of Al Shamal to generate a lively urban place, including creating a new urban typology, creating a clear identity for the new Al Shamal city, improving health conditions by providing well distributed medical centers, as well as outdoor and indoor exercise facilities and healthy locally grown food, improving outdoor comfort, safety and well-being: Pedestrian traffic is encouraged, which requires controlling the urban heat island effect and supporting outdoor activities for all ages, by creating safe, bright and clean public spaces.
The comfort inside the buildings will also be addressed by optimizing indoor air quality, lighting conditions and noise levels.
A full access to public transport ant local amenities will be ensured.
Mixture of uses
To get an urban character in a city the mixture of uses like commercial, cultural and residential uses should be well mixed and concentrated in central points. To minimize transport working places (mainly hotels) and accommodation units of staff should be close to each other. Cultural facilities like theater, library, music schools and community center should be considered. With the touristic orientation of the city special facilities like tourist information, guides and offers for public transports should be integrated in the cultural program as well. The ground level shall be open for public use such as: Shopping Exercise facilities, Markets Wellness (Spas), Communal activities Restaurants, Interior gardens (Oasis), Nightlife…
The relatively close proximity of the proposed corridor for the Qatar Integrated Railways Project, which will link Doha to Bahrain (via the proposed Friendship Bridge) and will incorporate an intermediate station at Al Zubara, provides great opportunity to create a high standard public transport link between the Al Shamal region and Doha/Bahrain. In order to realize this potential, it will be necessary to establish a high quality public transport network linking between the proposed Al Shamal development and the Al Zubara Intermediate Station. This will allow easy interchange between the Qatar Integrated Railways Project and a more local public transport system connecting directly to the development site. The strategic location of the Al Shamal development site would allow the public transport link system to be established along a corridor to connect both the new Al Shamal development and also the existing town of Madinal Al Shamal. In addition to the public transport system, a strategic highway access to the Al Shamal development will be provided from the Al Zubara Road which passes through the Al Shamal development site. This road is currently two-lane single carriageway standard and will need to be upgraded to a minimum two-lane dual carriageway, in order to support the traffic likely to be generated by the proposed development.
Landscape Design Concept
The landscape design concept is based on a gradient from land to sea conditions along the primary public spine of the master plan proposal. The land to sea gradient conceptually locates the plant species and public activities from wet to dry, fresh water to salt water and warm to cool. It also accommodates gradients such as agriculture to aquaculture and land sports to marine sports, providing multiple layers of experience and richness.