Doha’s Mind Blowing Architecture
Doha is a paradise for architects and designers. In a place where money is not an issue, the sky is the only limit to their imagination. If someone imagines a building, Qatar is the place to crystallize it. Qatar will host the 2022 soccer world cup in the best state-of-the-art stadiums modern technology can build, and will house athletes and visitors in sophisticated hotels, villas and resorts. Which means, there will be buildings looking like desert roses, tress, flames and even like paradise.
Zigzag Towers, Doha, Qatar
Ziz Zag Towers: Also known as The West Bay Lagoon Plaza twin towers, or the dancing towers, are the highest and largest residential zig-zag twin towers in the world. This record attracts architects and visitors interested in near-impossible feats of craftsmanship and engineering. These whimsical towers are located on the seaside between the districts of Lusail and The Pearl. From any of their 34 floors, the towers offer a view of the Arabian Gulf from one side and the landscape of Doha on the other. They are communicated through the exclusive Lagoona Mall.
Al Asmakh St, Doha, Qatar
Tornado Tower is neither the newest nor the tallest in Doha, but it’s undoubtedly one of the most iconic buildings in the country. It soars over the West Bay district in a statuesque hour-glass shape, gently slims down toward its mid-section, then opens up again toward its summit. The shape of the building is supposed to evoke the movement of a tornado. The shape is enhanced by a complex lighting system capable of producing over 35,000 patterns, creating a stunning visual effect at night. Tourists can take advantage of the stunning view from the French Restaurant La Varenne, located on the 28th floor.
Al-Lusail Sports Arena: This conch-shaped stadium, which is colored according to Qatar’s sand, pearl and sea water, can be easily transformed from a site hosting a basketball championship game into a setting for a music concert within two hours. It’s a sexy looking arena, sleek, unique, ultra modern and highly photogenic. With capacity to hold 16,000 spectators; multi-purpose hall fields such as basketball, volleyball and handball; training courts and warm-up area; changing rooms for 4 teams; VVIP and VIP facilities; corporate boxes; retail, food and beverages, this stadium has been blowing minds since serving as the main venue to the 2015 World Men’s Handball Championship.
Al Henaizbiah St, Doha, Qatar
The Sports Dome at Aspire Academy is not any sports facility; it holds a Guinness World Record for being the largest indoor multi-purpose sports dome in the world making the site a favorite with sports and architecture enthusiasts. The Aspire Dome, with its distinctive sloping roof, is an imposing free-standing, 46-meter-high structure that houses a football stadium, a track-and-field arena, a swimming stadium, eight fencing pistes, two sports halls, three martial arts arenas, 13 table tennis courts and two squash courts. The massive blue dome adjoins the Aspire academy and it’s located within walking distance to the Villaggio Mall. The dome’s architecture is so spectacular that the IOC/IAKS (the most important international architecture prizes for sports, leisure and recreational facilities) granted it a Distinction Award.
Al Mijdaf St, Doha, Qatar
Doha Tower, also known as Burj Doha, like its neighbor Tornado Tower, is not the tallest or the newest or the prettiest structure in Doha but its massive cylindrical shape and intricate lattice-like façade make it one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. It is located in the business district, on the corniche, and near the future Al Bidda metro station. The tower is completely wrapped in carved lattice work that acts as a sun screen. Although the tower is a memorable sight during the day, it is at night when it truly comes alive and stands as a trademark of the city’s skyline through a spectacular integrated architectural light show. That’s when the tower is at its most photogenic.
Katara Amphitheater located in the Katara Cultural Village, also known as the Valley of Cultures, is paradise for architecture buffs and those on a tight budget as the entry is free. The architecture of the village is an innovative tribute to the old Qatari traditional architecture, with wind catchers providing a cooling system, overhanging roofs, dovecotes and courtyards. At the center of it all and overlooking the blue sea is the amphitheater, an architectural fuse of Islamic features and classical Greek theatre. The amphitheater can accommodate 5,000 people and has hosted open-air film viewings, dance shows and music concerts by renown artists like Vangelis, who was the special guest for the opening ceremony in 2011.
Garafat Al Rayyan and Dukhan Hwy
Because of its unusual tree branches frame, the massive halls and its gigantic whimsical spider, The Qatar National Convention Center is a worthwhile place visiting in Qatar. Not only does it have unique, if not playful, architectural features, but it also is the largest exhibition center in the Middle East with capacity to hold up to 7000 people in its three main halls. From the outside all you see is it’s overhanging roof supported by two intertwined tree-like columns. The gigantic branches are a monument to the Sidra tree of great significance in the Islamic faith. And if the massive trees don’t capture your attention, the colossal spider in the lobby will. A 30ft high and 33ft wide bronze cast of a spider dominates the space. You can walk under the insect and take pictures from every possible angle. At night, the center is lit with a blue light that makes the black spider all the more striking.
Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, located in Education City, looks like a spaceship to some and like a ski resort to others, but it’s neither. This mysterious looking building is home to a cave-like mosque with alternating swaths of engraved ceiling: one with Quranic verses and one with thousands of tiny lights reminiscent of twinkling stars. The mosque, with capacity to hold 1,800 people in segregated male and female prayer rooms, seems to float above four streams of water flowing from a garden: an architectural interpretation of paradise. The Mosque is flanked by two 295’-high minarets erected in the direction of Mecca. The mosque was a winner in the 2015 in the World Architecture Festival. If you visit this building, which you should, it means that you are at Education City--5.5 square miles of nothing but educational facilities from school age to research level and branch campuses of some of the world’s most renowned universities. Drive around the complex and admire the overall architecture of this educational city within a city.
Al Waab St, Doha, Qatar
The Torch, also known as the Aspire Tower, at 980 ft, is the tallest structure in Doha. It was built to house the 2006 Asian Games Flame and it holds the record for the tallest and highest-positioned games flame ever. The Tower, located 20 minutes away from the city centers, serves now as a luxury hotel, although calling The Torch Hotel luxurious is a serious understatement. It has 51 floors, 360 views from any of its lounges, the only revolving restaurant in the country, one of the quaintest places for high tea, and to top it all off, hotel guests have access to a cantilevered swimming pool on the 19th floor--not for those afraid of heights--and a red carpet private walkway access to Villaggio Mall and. As beautiful as it is, it’s worth keeping in mind that The Torch Hotel doesn’t serve alcohol.