Qatar Rail has appointed UNStudio as the principal architect for the Qatar Integrated Railway Project (QIRP). The Metro Network, the key component of the QIRP - with phase 1 planned to include around 35 stations and phase 2, around 60 stations - will serve as the backbone of the public transport system in the Greater Doha Area (GDA). The full network is planned to comprise four lines connecting the GDA as well as Al Khor, and Al Wakrah-Mesaieed communities located north and south of Doha respectively.
The goal of the QIRP is to create a service which encourages the use of public transportation as a valid alternative to private transportation for the population of Doha. UNStudio’s design forms a bridge between the past and the future of Qatar, drawing inspiration from the vast regional architectural lexicon, whilst simultaneously representing an effective vision of modernisation and preservation.
Since its appointment UNStudio has developed an 'Architectural Branding Manual', a set of design guidelines, architectural details and material outlines that will assure the spatial quality and clarity of the network. The manual will be used by the appointed Design & Build contractors to implement and deliver the stations of the first phase.
Ben van Berkel comments: “The celebration of arriving and departing has always been found in the design of stations. For the QIRP we devised an adaptive parametric system which creates open, light and welcoming interiors for each of the individual stations. Traditional Qatari architectural features are reinterpreted to incorporate new, transformative qualities which capture daylight and direct this into the interiors, creating uplifting and luminous atmospheres.”
A key concept within the design is one of creating varying scales of identity for the user: network identity, line identity and station identity. Network identity reflects the overall Qatar Rail brand using recurring design elements that will shape the architecture of the stations consistently throughout the network and will offer brand recognition with Doha’s urban fabric.
Line identity is achieved by creating different atmospheres within the stations for the theme of each of the metro lines (Historic line, Coastal line, City line and Education line) through distinct wall and floor treatments, as well as through material applications that guide the travellers through their journey.
Individual station identity is achieved by displaying features positioned at strategic points in different areas of each station. The content of these features is specific to each station and is related to the local context and/or to the line theme. By integrating curated content throughout the stations, the Metro Network will serve as a cultural vehicle for Doha.
Drawing inspiration from the arch, expressions of traditional architecture, the lightness of the dhow sail, and the tensile profiles of nomadic tents, the ‘Vaulted Spaces’ design proposes a contemporary approach to the interpretation and morphological implementation of these elements. Through a system of interconnected triangular base forms, the massing of the geometry adapts and transforms to incorporate programmatic functions and to connect interior spaces with exterior urban infrastructure.
Client: Qatar Railways Company
Principal architect: UNStudio; Ben van Berkel, Astrid Piber with Nuno Almeida, Arjan Dingsté and René Rijkers, Marianthi Tatari, Juergen Heinzel, Rob Henderson, Jaap-Willem Kleijwegt, Tom Minderhoud and Wael Batal, Thomas van Bekhoven, Ergin Birinci, William de Boer, Eric Caspers, Leonhard Clemens, Bas Cuppen, Gokcen Dadas, Eric Eelman, Giacomo Garziano, Ger Gijzen, Albert Gnodde, Ricardo Guedes, Maud van Hees, Maarten Heinis, Lars van Hoften, Marc Hoppermann, Sebastian Janusz, Nemanja Kordic, Dennis Krassenburg, Samuel Liew, Guomin Lin, Alberto Martinez, Gerben Modderman, Patrik Noome, Maurizio Papa, Bruno Peris, Clare Porter, Attilio Ranieri, Thys Schreij, Georgios Siokas, Luke Tan, Yi-Ju Tseng, Menno Trautwein, Gerasimos Vamvakidis, Laertis Vassiliou, Sander Versluis, Philip Wilck, JooYoun Yoon, Martin Zangerl, Meng Zhao, Jennifer Zitner, Seyavash Zohoori
Structure, MEP: RHDHV
Facade engineering: Inhabit
Lighting engineering: ag licht
Passenger flow analysis: MIC - Mobility in Chain
Fire and life safety: AECOM