Abou Sidra mixed use complex - Qatar - 2004 - Architecture

A sustainable campus-like park of houses and shops topped with a large shading structure forms Abou Sidra community development plan in Qatar, featuring public and private gardens. The mixed-use program includes a variety of housing typologies, with their recreational and service areas, as well as retail and restaurants. Inspired by the urban fabric of traditional Middle Eastern cities, the design combines contemporary materials with ancient strategies for passive cooling. The porous texture of the continuous yet compact urban tissue provides self-shading and creates places for a variety of green spaces while capturing and channeling the wind for a natural cooling effect. A large cantilevered canopy is set up to encourage pedestrian circulation through all spaces, both public and private, and shelters as well the buildings and the shaded external spaces to help users deal with Qatar's subtropical desert climate. Modular circular openings form the geometric pattern of the canopy, filtering sunlight to create a rain of light, throwing spots of illumination on the white blocks and walkways. The semi-outdoor spaces below the canopy, the white cubic villas, and the commercial strips branch off the walkway, forming a village-like community. An outer ring, which combines a vehicular road, a running track and a green belt, wraps around the residential area and acts as a buffer area between the houses and the highway, while residential parkings are located in subterranean space to remove on-site pollution and congestion, and support the pedestrian-friendly public spaces. On the other hand, the commercial area has access both from the highway and the site, since it serves clients from outside the complex. Clusters of different typologies have been combined together to deliver increased densities without feeling over-developed. With an urban streetscape linking Abou Sidra to the edge of the city, a combination of courtyard homes, open courtyard houses and linear houses, all combined in back to back formations to reduce heat gain and create a mixed residential population. This same strategy is used in the general arrangement throughout the project. A simple white palette of materials brings consistency and coherence to the scheme. A musharabieh facade of perforated white panels with different patterns prevents the need for blinds or further sun-shading and adds interest, with shading devices working as solar protective membranes.