UK winners of architecture and urban design prize announced
The British Council has announced that ‘City of Play’, a project developed by a team of architects and designers - ScottWhitbyStudio (Alex Scott-Whitby and Cherng-Min Teong) from the UK, and Omer Can Aksoy, Gizem Kahraman and Deena Al Terawi from the Gulf - has won the Unlimited Doha Design Prize 2016, following a week-long design-residency held in Doha in March.
The design-residency offered a unique opportunity for architects and designers based in the UK to collaborate with counterparts from across the Gulf region around the theme of ‘The Open City’. During the residency 21 participants worked in four teams, each of which combined UK and Gulf participants, to develop new ideas and innovative design solutions to help improve the experience of movement and accessibility within Doha and beyond.
The winning team placed a focus on ‘play’ in their proposal, utilising the team’s diverse skill set - that included archaeology as well as architecture - to propose a contemporary city that builds upon the best of its past in order to cater for new urban communities. The project presents a vision for education and family life at the heart of the city, creating a chain of street and public space transformations that humanise and revitalise the historic fabric to achieve an inclusive, accessible re-birth of a much-loved part of Doha.
A total of 21 designers participated in the Unlimited Doha Design Prize 2016 residency. Each benefitted from a series of talks given by local and international experts in the fields of architecture, urban design, engineering, transport planning, and development processes; as well as the chance to build lasting professional and creative connections and to work in Doha, one of the youngest and most dynamic cities in the Gulf region, where the current pace of change is creating exciting opportunities for urban designers to shape the future lives of inhabitants.
Alex Scott-Whitby, Founding director ScottWhitbyStudio, said on behalf of the winning team: “We are overwhelmed and tremendously honoured to have won the Doha Unlimited Design Prize. As a team, and on behalf of all the participants, the last 10 days have proved to be insightful, rewarding and hugely productive. We have gained new friends, and creative partners who we are very much looking forward to working with to further our winning concept ‘A City of Play’ in the coming years. We are very excited that by winning the prize we will now have the opportunity to continue working with the people and organisations that we met in Doha to potentially make a positive contribution to Doha’s future built heritage.”
Vicky Richardson, British Council Director of Architecture Design Fashion, said: “This platform provided an opportunity to explore and develop new ideas and concepts as well as practice innovative design solutions that will improve the experience of living in the 21st century. The fruits of this week-long residency have been a set of creative ideas and exchange of expertise between participants who came from diversified cultures to share their creative design talents. I look forward to seeing how these ideas develop and impact the future of Doha over the years ahead.”
Jane Duncan, RIBA President, said: “As an international organisation with a global reach, RIBA was delighted to have supported this creative project in Doha. RIBA is committed to promoting design excellence in the delivery of architecture in the Gulf and, through a Chapter based in the region, is leading the representation of locally-based architects and co-professionals. We are particularly pleased that the Prize encouraged collaboration between so many architects based in the UK and the Gulf, with fantastic results.”
The teams focused their research on the areas of Al Doha Al Jadeeda and Al Ghanem. To provide context and insight, they visited Msheireb Downtown Doha (a 31 hectare site which has been redeveloped), Msheireb Museums, and Msheireb Arts Centre (MAC) amongst others. The teams were facilitated by Simon Gathercole, from architecture firm Allies and Morrison, with support from Iris Papadatou (you&me architecture), and Doha Architecture Forum.
The winning team was awarded the Unlimited Doha Design Prize in the form of a grant for £15,000 which will allow them to develop the project proposal over the year ahead. Possibilities the team may explore include: creating an exhibition, developing a research project, publication, installation, public intervention and film.