Just back from
The city (like many others in the
I will take you thru bits of my first day there to try and give a sense of the city (at least in terms of its urban form)
As I drove out of the airport and thru the city centre (or should I call it the ‘old’ city centre) I went past a very generic 1950s to 70s city fabric – modest in scale (max 6 floors); small shops on ground floor selling all sorts of everyday stuff; mostly uninteresting architecture made of very basic concrete structures, rendered walls, pre-cast lattice panels covering quiet a bit of the facades and dusty balconies with never ending clotheslines. While passing this stretch I was transported by fleeting images in my head of Deira (in Dubai), outskirts of Ajman, parts of Cairo, run down housing blocks in Chandigarh, bits of Sao Paulo ….
Once I passed this interesting building I saw across the bay on its extreme west a monstrous city made of glass and steel as if it had just landed there newly made in nearby
There is however one very interesting building in West Bay – the Sheraton hotel – built in the early 80s, it was considered a complete waste of money back then and it was far away from the city and you had to have a 4WD to get to it (check this link for an amazing photo of the building during its construction- http://www.qatarliving.com/node/1396 )..but today surrounded by new strange towers I’m sure even its most adamant critics have been silenced.
Later I made my way out of the city towards the desert to attend some meetings near the
And this one below is by Ricardo LegorretaAfter that I headed back into the ‘old’ city driving pass huge billboards selling me an amazing life on the beach : ) ...
anyways.. I was going to see an area called Souk Waqif. I have yet to make sense out of this bit of Doha … it’s a new development which uses the logic and aesthetic of what was existing in Doha in its pre-oil days and turns into a tourist friendly shopping/eating street disguised as a traditional Middle Eastern Bazaar… sort of like Bastakiya in Dubai… but much bigger and much more everyday…
very strange. very kitsch… yet very pleasant.. I liked the feel of the place yet something about it extremely disturbing.. I guess I’m quiet prejudiced to anything that attempts to be vernacular …
I spend most of my evening here before joining my work colleagues for dinner before heading for my first night in
Here are a few snaps of the city I managed to click while I flew out.