Alejandro Aravena wins competition to design Art Mill cultural centre in Doha

Chilean Pritzker Prize-winner Alejandro Aravena‘s architecture firm Elemental has won an international competition to design the Art Mill museum on the historic waterfront of Doha.

An international jury announced the selection of Elemental from an eight-strong shortlist, based on their strategies for the Doha Bay site and its links to the wider city.

Other architects shortlisted for the projected include Adam Khan Architects ; Atelier Bow-Wow; EAA Emre Arolat Architecture; junya.ishigami + associates,  Mangado & Asociados;  Renzo Piano Building Workshop; and • Rice+Lipka Architects.

The museum will be built on a complex that has been home to Qatar’s original flour mills, which have produced bread for the country since the 1980s.

Elemental has taken inspiration from the large grain silos on the site, contrasting these retained structures with a looser grouping of new silos. These will act as cooling chimneys circulating air through the site.

The concept design was praised by the jury as “a serene artwork, where the structure is the architecture”. The team’s environmental strategy was also praised for its understanding of the local climate.

The Art Mill museum will be one of several institutions on the waterfront dedicated to art and is located close to IM Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art and Jean Nouvel’s forthcoming National Museum of Qatar.

It will contain galleries, exhibition halls, research facilities and conference and event areas.

The project is being developed by Qatar Museums and has been established “to become one of the world’s leading cultural centres.”

“Art Mill will be an international exemplar where art connects across cultures and boundaries,” said Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, chair of the jury and Qatar Museums.

“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 site of the Art Mill project in Doha, Qatar.

The architects will now develop the initial concept design with Qatar Museums, climate engineers Transsolar, structural engineers Schlaich Bergermann and global design consultants Stantec.

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