Update

International design competition launched for the Art Mill, Qatar

  • New museum will be circa one million square foot and joins Doha’s ensemble of acclaimed museums
  • Three-stage design competition is devised to reduce the burden of risk for architects with design work required only by the long-list and the shortlist
  • Prominent waterfront site at the heart of Doha’s cultural quarter will link the new gallery with the existing Museum of Islamic Art and the forthcoming National Museum of Qatar
  • Competition seeks to identify emerging talent and welcomes practising architects with at least seven years’ experience post final qualification

Qatar Museums (QM) and Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) are today launching the Art Mill International Design Competition.

This is a global search for the designer of what will be one of the world’s leading art galleries on a spectacular and historic waterfront site in the centre of Doha.

Currently occupied by Qatar Flour Mills, the site extends into Doha Bay, with the Arabian Sea on three sides. It adjoins the park around I.M. Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art, and is close to key landmarks, including the Corniche and Jean Nouvel’s forthcoming National Museum of Qatar (under construction).

Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al Mahmoud, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Museums, said:

‘We’re very enthusiastic about this competition and open-minded about who might apply and be appointed.

‘Qatar Museums is looking for an outstanding architect who will take immense care with the project. It presents an ideal opportunity both for new talent and designers who are on the cusp of developing as well as celebrated architects who genuinely connect with the site.’

‘This new museum will represent a major milestone in the urban development of Doha, connecting a number of our most cherished cultural and heritage sites. Dynamic, sustainable, contemporary and true to its social and cultural responsibilities, it will reflect the importance and setting of an historic site at the heart of the port and city.’

The Art Mill initiative presents a new model for international, open competitions. It is devised to reduce the burden of design work (and risk) for architects at stage one, whilst directing them to analyse and explain their suitability for the project.

However, once the long-list of 20 architects is selected, these competitors will be asked to envision strategies for the site and its links to the city. From the best of these analyses, a shortlist of five architects will be given further briefing and progress onto more detailed concept designs for the conversion and extension of the Flour Mills’ structures.

Malcolm Reading, competition organiser and chairman of Malcolm Reading Consultants said:

‘This is a life-changing opportunity for an architect dedicated to excellence. The site has a remarkable open aspect with three sides adjoining Doha Bay, and the other linking to the city. The Flour Mills buildings have an authentic monumentality with their positioning, scale and noble forms. The industrial process of milling grain has left a fascinating legacy in the layout and spaces of the existing buildings on the site, notably high ceiling spaces and a rhythmic, patterned promenade of vertical silos. Re-using and adapting these structures will be integral to the project.’

‘Our approach here balances competitor and client needs but nevertheless, will test and probe practices. They should demonstrate evidence of passion, attention to detail, ability to envision transformational design, clarity of communication and experience that is relevant to the project objectives.’

MRC has a reputation for structuring its competitions according to the individual project. Recent work includes two global cultural design competitions currently attracting attention, the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s ‘Olympicopolis’ design competition in London, which generated a much-admired shortlist.

The Art Mill will have an extraordinary civic presence, completing the cultural and social campus at the Eastern end of the Corniche.

Stage one of the Art Mill International Design Competition requires interested practising architects – who can demonstrate at least seven years’ experience post final professional qualification – to submit two short written statements; a practice profile and relevant experience (both supported by images).

Further details of the project and how to enter the design competition plus future updates will be available on the dedicated competition microsite.

Competitors have until 14.00 hours BST June 26, 2015 to send their entry and be considered for the long-list.

The long-list will receive a contribution to expenses of £5,000, the shortlist an honorarium of £30,000.

The long-list will be announced in summer 2015, the shortlist in the autumn 2015, and the winning practice in spring 2016. Construction of the project is expected to begin in 2017.

Notes to Editors

Qatar Museums

Qatar Museums (QM) connects the museums, cultural institutions and heritage sites in Qatar and creates the conditions for them to thrive and flourish. It centralizes resources and provides a comprehensive organization for the development of museums and cultural projects, with a long term ambition of creating a strong and sustainable cultural infrastructure for Qatar. Under the patronage of His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and led by its Chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, QM is consolidating Qatar’s efforts to become a vibrant center for the arts, culture and education, in the Middle East and beyond.

Since its foundation in 2005, QM has overseen the development of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, and the Al Zubarah World Heritage Site Visitor Centre. The QM also manages the QM Gallery at Katara and the ALRIWAQ DOHA Exhibition Space. Future projects include the opening of the Fire Station: Artists in Residence in 2014 and the launch of the highly anticipated National Museum of Qatar and the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum.

QM is committed to instigating Qatar’s future generation of arts, heritage and museum professionals. At its core is a commitment to nurturing artistic talent, creating opportunities and developing the skills to service Qatar’s emerging art economy. By means of a multi-faceted program and public art initiatives, QM seeks to push the boundaries of the traditional museum model, and create cultural experiences that spill out onto the streets and seek to involve the widest possible audiences. Through a strong emphasis on originating art and culture from within and fostering a spirit of national participation, QM is helping Qatar find its own distinctive voice in today’s global cultural debates.

For more information please see http://www.qm.org.qa

Art Mill Project

The proposed site for the Art Mill was originally a key node within the historic Arabian Gulf port, essential for the import of grain. The site extends into Doha Bay and is surrounded by the sea on three sides. It is presently occupied by Qatar Flour Mills, which sits to the east of Museum of Islamic Art (MIA).

The mill operation will now move to purpose-built new facilities. The existing buildings range from storage to processing and warehouse facilities, mostly with high ceilings and large spans. The range of vertical silos is authentically monumental; re-using and adapting these structures is integral to the project.

The new museum building (or buildings) is expected to contain between 60,000 m2 and 80,000 m2 of gross space (645,835 sq. ft. and 861,113 sq. ft.), plus underground parking.

While predominantly comprising gallery and exhibition space, the museum’s brief also includes extensive education, conference and event space, as well as state-of-the-art conservation and storage to match the diversity of the collection. As this is a place of social as well as cultural interaction, there will be community facilities, food and beverage outlets and family amenities.

The site area is circa 83,500m2/898,787 sq. ft. It is anticipated that extensive outside space will be integrated with the design, offering opportunities for cross-programming and public engagement as well as creating a beautiful and sustainable setting.

The building and site will respond to and encourage integrated transport initiatives such as the Metro, waterbuses, cycling and walking. Innovation in energy management and preservation of natural resources are expected to be key features of the design and operation.

The budget will reflect the importance of the building and provision of international gallery standards. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2017.

Art Mill International Design Competition

The official language of the competition is English.

Anticipated competition timetable 2015/16
stage one June 1 – June 26 (14.00 hours BST)
stage two July – September
stage three October – January
jury meeting and winner announced early 2016

Malcolm Reading Consultants

Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) is a strategic architectural consultancy, which specialises in the selection of contemporary designers. MRC believes in the power of design to create new perceptions and act as an inspiration – whether at the local level, or internationally.

The consultancy offers a service to find the very best designers for clients with new building projects, whether through open-international, or private-invited competitions. Recent work in this area includes competitions for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s Culture & Education Quarter, the Mumbai City Museum, the Natural History Museum, the UK Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015, New College, Oxford, the Cadogan Estate, Marlborough College, Aberdeen City Garden project, the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Exhibition Road project, the UK Pavilion for the Shanghai Expo and the Glasgow School of Art.