Msheireb Properties (MP) has regenerated the historic downtown district of Doha, to create a brand new, smart, sustainable inner-city development - Msheireb Downtown Doha (MDD). MP has fully restored the former heart of Qatar’s capital, while pioneering sustainability and providing a brand-new architectural language for the world. The MDD regeneration began in 2010, and fully opened in 2022. It is the world’s first downtown regeneration project and is Doha’s new destination for living, leisure, and business. The entire development is designed to consume fewer resources, generate less waste, lower costs, and achieve a reduced carbon footprint. It is also designed to reverse high-rise trends and a dependency on cars.
With 800 homes, businesses, and the very latest in innovative architecture and design to put people first, MDD seeks to minimise its environmental impact by embracing modern architectural practices, while still being firmly rooted in the historic past on which the area is built. It is by breathing new life back to the historic heart of Doha that MDD has found the most success – the area that was so crucial to Qatar’s past, is now once again humming with new and vibrant life. Whilst honouring Qatar’s architectural past, MDD is also looking to the future, and is pioneering new ways to solve universal challenges, which includes working in tandem with the environment around us by drawing on traditional practices, and utilising local materials designed to withstand the local conditions.
MDD was created with sustainability at its core, with the view to creating something that would last. The district has rainwater harvesting and recycling, as well as shady overhangs that make walking outside cooler. Buildings are fitted with 7,800 rooftop solar panels to provide onsite energy generation and hot water, which generate around 25% of the power needed for the city. MP utilised sustainable materials to reduce electricity consumption, including eco-friendly building material, thicker walls, recessed windows, and heat-isolating glass to prevent heat loss and keep the internal temperatures lower, which means buildings require less energy for cooling in the hot summer. As a result, the project has achieved a 30% reduction in energy use across the district.
The MDD project takes strength from its considered approach to design, and the new architectural language that MP pioneered through the delivery of this world-first regeneration project, called ‘Seven Steps’. MP invested three years of research and collaboration with the world’s leading architects, academics, and urban planners to create a new architectural language. The process is modern yet inspired by traditional Qatari heritage and gathers aspects of the local architecture with modern trends, so it can be adapted to developments anywhere in the world. Seven Steps integrates the spirit and aesthetics of Qatari architecture with the best sustainable design and modern technology have to offer. Ultimately, it aims to restore the uniqueness of Qatar’s built environment and the strong social ties that define Qatari society, while allowing consideration of space and form which reflect the character and informality of the traditional ‘carved city.’ Buildings are not objects; they are part of an ‘urban clay’ from which spaces and forms are carved. Streets are designed to create a lasting setting for vibrant street life. MP has also focused on design with the climate in mind, by using technology old and new, to achieve maximum comfort with minimum energy use.
MP is extremely proud to present this project to the world, as an example of how the old can be rejuvenated by the new, to create a space that works in concert with its surroundings, while seeking to minimise its impact on the precious natural environment. MP’s mission is to change the way that people think about urban living and to improve quality of life through innovative developments that have social interaction, cultural norms, and a deep respect for the environment at their core.