MZ Architects has received the Masterplanning Award for the design of The Valley City – Qatar at this year’s MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards in Cannes, France.
Designed for Qatari real estate company Sak Holding Group, the project was one of around 200 entries to the awards that focus on projects awaiting construction or still on the drawing board.
The judges said MZ’s project stood out as “an unusual proposition for Gulf city-making without recourse to the ubiquitous glass tower”.
The panel also noted that “the analysis of how conventional urban forms are the consequence of inheritance and sub division provides the basis for an intriguing alternative”.
Located on a 3 million m2 desert plot, the Valley City is intended as a settlement for middle-income expatriates and Qatari citizens.
Developed using Chaos Theory as a foundation and mathematical tool, its urban grid is built perpendicular to the hot desert wind whose path, generated by the wind turbulences, leads to the development of a linear city with a catalytic green valley crossing it between residential fingers.
Marwan Zgheib, principal of MZ Architects, commented: “The masterplan of the Valley City has emerged from my personal experience of living in Qatar and my in-depth understanding of the existing urban morphology and social structure of Qatari cities.
“Living among the expatriate community of Qatar, the main issue was a shortage in affordable small and medium-size rental accommodation as well as a lack of relationship between the residential neighbourhoods and the green areas.
He continued: “With the Valley City project we succeeded in respecting and enhancing the architectural guidelines of traditional Qatari and Islamic cities, while balancing the objectives of a thriving commercial development with the needs of the growing community of expatriates.”
The panel of professional judges chaired by Paul Finch, editorial director of The Architectural Review, included Roger Zogolovitch, architect and chairman of Solidspace; Peter Stewart, principal of Peter Stewart Consultancy; and Dr Sutherland Lyall, author and critic.