The aim of this project is to provide a required housing type currently inexistent in Doha for mainly expatriate clients who desire the privacy and tranquillity of a private home with some private exterior space and garden, complemented by easy access to community amenities including shopping, restaurant, cultural, sport, leisure and health facilities. A part from achieving a certain density resulting in economic units, the other important factor is the local climate, harsh and extremely hot.
Qatar - Al Rayyan // Mixed: residential + commercial + recreational // 176.898m² plot, 62.252m² built // Climate: hot desert climate
Maximum efficiency Although it is still spatious and comfy. The goal of this development was to achieve the maximum number of units, while keeping the ground floor only height. By including innner gardens we could have the minimal façade area. That means, less AC needs, less roads and more privacy. The direct results are reduced construction and maintenance cost and high living standards.
Variety Designing repetitive units gives boring results. In order to avoid it, big efforts were put into designing the streets. Each area has a recognizable design and use, in a similar way to the way traditional cities evolved.
There are three defining characteristics of the climate: scarce rainfall, less than 100mm per annum; high year-round temperatures averaging between 17º and 35ºC with maximums soaring over 50ºC during summer, and; the Shamal, the dry desert north northwest wind that blows down the Arabian Gulf. In June and July it blows almost continuously, but usually under 50km/h, causing great dust storms, especially in July, when five or more such storms may occur lasting 3 to 5 days each. An urban park that prioritizes green pedestrian spaces. Although all residences have garage, more importantly all residents have an alternative garden walk linking the houses to the public amenities and doubling as a shared park-like area for relaxing and socialising.
The houses are modern and single-storey, with open planning and flexibility in configuration, are built with a relatively high density, although all have private outdoor spaces as well as direct connections to the shared community park. To meet the demand of the house inhabitants and to create the subsequent complementary infrastructure a recreational centre is located at the centre of the site, and a commercial centre along the road front boundary.
Building orientation, the use of large rooves to provide shade, extreme isolation, the layering and perforating of façade elements and the incorporation of water and planting are all combined as expressed solutions to the climatic conditions. Spaces are shaded but ventilated; the separation between interior and exterior dissolves, translucent solar protection and articulated wind filtering elements adapt the conditions to create relaxing spaces. The interior or semi-interior courtyards or patios are a key space in providing both privacy and comfort.
The urban planning minimises roads, with just one loop road around the site, from which lanes radiate to reach all the houses, providing all residences with a carport at their entrance. The density is created here in these urban lanes, tree lined and practical with space for pedestrians, bicycles, and car turning, while, conversely, the other sides of the houses open onto the park and green spaces to create an ambience of space and relaxation, all of which combines to contribute to a great quality of life.
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We are a house of design based in Barcelona with projects ranging from medium to large scale around the globe: from object to urban planning.