Middle East architectural marvel

The recently completed Qatar Science and Technology Park in Doha.

The recently completed Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) in Doha, capital of the Emirates on the east coast of the Arabian Peninsula has won its designer, Woods Bagot, the prestigious LEAF Award for 2009.

The award, sponsored by Emirates Glass, is presented by the Leading European Architects Forum (LEAF). It brings together international architectural practices and designers operating in Europe and beyond, to share knowledge, to network and develop new partnerships. LEAF International is to hold its eighth annual event in London this year.

In addition to the overall 2009 LEAF Award, QSTP won an award in another category — Commercial Building of the Year (sponsored by Bauporte Design Entrances). The awards were given away at a formal ceremony in Berlin in September last year.
In evaluating the QSTP project for the LEAF Award, judges were impressed by the use of materials, the composition and articulation of cultural and climatic context to produce a building of such size that maintains a human scale.

Part of the Qatar Foundation’s Education City, the aesthetically striking QSTP hosts technology centres of some of the world’s leading companies. The facility comprises a business incubator to commercialise the fruits of the foundation’s strong investment in research.

The QSTP building has a floor area of 98,500 sq metres. The site comprises an emerging technology centre, housing the business incubator, administration and serviced offices for small-to-medium companies and two flanking innovation and technology transfer centres where large companies will install their R&D centres.
The Executive Chairman of the Qatar Foundation, Tidu Maini, stated that QSTP is unique in what it seeks to do in the Middle East region. “We needed a building which would represent this unique endeavour through an innovative design while keeping up with international best practices. Woods Bagot has created an architectural marvel that symbolises our cornerstone values of innovation, collaboration and sustainability.”

The approach to the science and technology park is dominated by the distinctive, undulating roof and the structure is visible from the centre of the Emirate’s capital, Doha.

The significance of this location has been marked by Woods Bagot through the use of a perforated aluminium veil that runs along the front length of the site.  Divided into 11 distinct zones, the Qatar Foundation’s Education City involves a total built-up area of 2.1 million sq metres and represents considerable investment in the development of education infrastructure in the Emirates.

Mark Mitcheson-Low, Woods Bagot’s Regional Managing Director for the Middle East, said, “As part of its long-term vision, QSTP’s purpose is to become an internationally recognised hub for research and commercialisation. To this end, the world-class design of the building is already drawing global technology leaders and will become the focus for business goals for all of Qatar.”

Inspired by the French Alps

 The world headquarters of Rossignol, leading manufacturer of skiing equipment, in the French Alps.The world headquarters of Rossignol, a leading French manufacturer of skiing equipment, has been designed by Herault-Arnod Architects. Set in the French Alps, it takes inspiration from its surroundings.

The ‘House of Rossignol’ brings together offices and workshops which were previously spread across the country.

The facade of the building curves upwards to form a roof over the workshops and descends on the south-western side to cover the office area. It is then broken up with shale-paved patios planted with magnolias.

Mimicking the landscape

The roof mimics the surrounding mountainous landscape so do its elevations, formed as alternating cliff faces — some sheer, some sloped, some cragged.

Inside, the building functions like a ‘hive’ in which different activities intersect and communicate.

The design unites very different functions, right from production to services under a single roof.  The restaurant situated right at the top is the primary nucleus of company life — two large glasshouses divide up the panoramic views to the sky and the mountains.

Only two materials have been used for the external envelope — wood (natural larch) and glass.

The workshop space has a primary horizontal roof overlaid by a timber over-roof, creating a hidden space between the two, which contains all technical systems and machinery. This means that no technical elements are visible from the outside area.
The building is designed for minimal environmental impact. The technical choices make it an efficient and energy-saving structure, well insulated and protected from the summer sun due to the timber over-roof.

The offices have the benefit of natural ventilation through automatic window openings.

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