In the last decades, Qatar, a small peninsula in the Gulf Region, has unexpectedly experienced a fast, urban growth due to oil discovery and exportation. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is currently affected by a dispute concerning its direction of growth: form one side, the edification of a new contemporary global city, and the other side, the need to preserve the local heritage by establishing new links with the local traditions and history. The paper presents some recently completed adaptive re-use interventions in Qatar and demonstrates how the need to enhance the recognition for the Qatari architecture can intensify the perception and evaluation of the local significance. The conservation projects have been analyzed and compared, concerning socio-cultural, socio-economic, and environmental aspects linked with the adaptive re-use adopted approach. The results show that there exist many connections between the local heritage re-use, preservation of ancient natural materials, enhancement of socio-cultural values, and symbiosis with the environmental condition that could also be applied to any future restoration approach. The concept of sustainable re-use is thus described through the principles of unity and harmony in an extended meaning that includes materials preservation, ecosystem recognition, and social aspects applied to the two scales of intervention, both urban and architectural. The aim is to define a consistent approach in preserving the Qatari heritage while enhancing sustainable principles.
Full Text (PDF)