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).
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 D&B contractors to implement and deliver the stations of the first phase.
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. The design further aims to incorporate and integrate all functional and technical aspects of the stations and network into a coherent architectural expression with a view to making the Qatar Rail Metro Network a world reference in the service provided by public transportation to the users and to the environment.
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 orient and 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.
Building upon existing elements found in the architecture of the region, in the architectural branding vision, the ‘Vault’ represents a new referential bridge between Qatar’s historic architecture and culture and its future as a beacon of innovation and prosperity.
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.
Photo credits: UNstudio.