Msheireb is a planned complex in downtown Doha, Qatar which, when completed, will be the world’s largest collection of LEED certified buildings. As Qatar scrambles to prepare to host the 2022 World Cup, Doha has become an emerging sustainability laboratory showcasing the latest in solar energy technology and green building design. The 31-hectare Msheireb town aims to transform Doha, and will be a showcase of the latest and greatest green design elements while incorporating traditional Arabian architecture.
Phase One of Msheireb is currently underway. A historic neighborhood that has fallen into disrepair, the site includes historic homes up to 100 years old that will be preserved and incorporated into the complex. The new town will include retail space, hotels and apartments, all of which will be crammed together to encourage walking. All parking will be underground and Doha’s future rail system will wind through the middle of the development. Solar panels on top of the buildings and covered walkways will catch Qatar’s abundant sun and will, in part, power all of the buildings. Smart grid technologies will also be an important facet of the development’s promise to be as energy-efficient as possible. Moving from north to south, the buildings cascade and become taller so that each one shades the one next to it.
Arabian design elements, however, will do their part to keep Msheireb’s buildings and alleys cool, even during those fierce Middle East summers. The alleys and streets will be laid out to capture breezes that predominately come from the northwest. Thick walls will help to keep the buildings’ interiors cool. Pedestrian walkways will zigzag so that no matter what time of day visitors find themselves in Msheireb, they will never find themselves trapped in the sun. And modern versions of wind towers will capture hot air from above and turn it into a cool breeze to keep visitors and residents at ground level comfortable.
Msheireb’s developer claims that, when completed, the entire complex will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 110,000 tons per year compared to conventionally built developments of a similar size. Phase One will open before the end of this year. The entire project is slated for completed in 2016 at a total cost of $5.5 billion.
Photos courtesy Msheireb Properties and Leon Kaye