Santiago-based practice Elemental, led by 2016 Pritzker Prize laureate Alejandro Aravena, won the Art Mill International Design Competition in Qatar, supported by climate engineers (Transsolar), structural engineers (Schlaich Bergermann), and global design consultants (Stantec).
The international design competition launched June 1, 2015, with the long-list candidates announced August 17 2015, and the whittled shortlist announced April 21, 2016. The winner was declared yesterday. The Chilean company pulled ahead from a pool of 26 long-listed teams and then eight finalists, selected ahead of established names like Renzo Piano, Atelier Bow-Wow, and Junya Ishigami.
Elemental will develop the concept design, though a gallery of all eight shortlisted designs (including runner-up Adam Khan architects) will be published by the competition’s organiser Malcolm Reading Consultants.
Elemental’s favoured concept “took as its inspiration the rhythmic monumental grain silos that are the industrial legacy of the original Flour Mills on the site, which have produced bread for the State since the 1980s,” a statement revealed. The industrial process of milling left a monumental layout of space in the existing voluminous buildings. “Re-using and adapting these structures will be integral to the project,” the competition brief stated.
The winning firm proposed an amplification of the existing silos with a looser grouping of new ones that would circulate air through the site, extending on three sides into Doha Bay. (The mill operation will now move to custom-built new facilities.) Adjoining the MIA park, and adjacent to Doha’s famous Corniche, the site offers panoramic views across the bay to the skyline of the financial district.
Aside from exhibition space, the project also includes conservation and museum storage, as well as event spaces in an area of around 83,500sq m/898,787 sq ft. “To put the Doha flour mill into perspective, London’s Tate Modern, which is housed in a former power station, measures around 55,000 sq meters of internal space,” noted the Art Newspaper.
The new institution will complete Doha’s suite of museums devoted to art, notably I.M. Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art and Jean Nouvel’s forthcoming National Museum of Qatar. Doha has several buildings due for completion in 2022 in time for the World Cup, although no official opening date for the Art Mill International has been confirmed.