Experts debate Qatar’s need for tall buildings

Experts debate Qatar’s need for tall buildings

Development challenges for Qatar, including the need for tall towers, were debated at a recent roundtable discussion held by Construction Week Qatar.

The discussion, chaired by editor William Skidmore, brought together senior representatives from Tangram, Woods Bagot and engineers WSP.

Nigel Eckersall, general manager from Tangram Qatar, commented:  “Today it is seen that all leading cities must have a tall tower to be able to compete as an economic hub.

“However, wouldn’t it be brave for Doha and Qatar to buck the trend and instead aim for a culturally vernacular and sustainable environment built around people’s needs?”

The US$5.5bn mixed-use Msheireb scheme, under construction in the heart of the city, was identified by the experts as a key future project.

Gurminder Singh Sagoo, head of business development and marketing for WSP Middle East, added: “Msheireb is a clear example of a how to wow without going tall. It will be interesting to see how Qatar evolves and if they want the world’s tallest tower.

Eckersall replied: “I don’t think they want [the tallest buildings], I think they will want to ensure sustainable development which integrates infrastructure and public realms. Qatar has a more sympathetic approach to development.”

Karim Benkirane, regional managing principal for Woods Bagot, remarked: “People need to be proud of the city they live in. Musheireb will be a tourist attraction, but [the high rise area of] West Bay won’t. People will want to go there.

“There are very few nations in the world who can attest to trying to accomplish something as radical as Qatar.”

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