The ex-Emir of Qatar, H. H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, now succeeded by his son, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has said that he believes that the Katara Culural Village project will position Doha as a global cultural destination. The family have gained a reputation for their generous patronage of the Arts. The Village was launched in October 2010 during the Tribeca Film Festival, which it has hosted ever since, alongside the international academic and critical platform TEDx.
The institutional and residential buildings are designed to reflect traditional Qatari architecture, and are randomly arranged so as to reflect the positioning of buildings in a traditional Qatari Al Fereej. Wind catchers provide a cooling system, which does not rely on energy-sapping air conditioning units and over-hanging roofs provide shade from the desert sun. The angular sides and features are quintessential modern, however, keeping in line with the pan-Arabic aesthetic seen in Dubai and Riyadh.
Not only architecturally does the Village provide a juxtaposition of past and present. The Village plan was conceived as a means of preserving local heritage, but the space has also become a space for international exchange: integrating local and international arts. The Village provides many facilities, including an Amphitheatre, an Opera House and a Drama Theatre, all with the latest modern technology. It is also home to societies and associations, including Qatar Photographic Society, Childhood Cultural Centre and the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra.
By Elspeth Black