HOK London chief Barry Hughes has hailed Qatar as the ‘Premiership’ of architecture after the practice secured planning permission for a retail and leisure scheme north of Doha
The UK branch of the global company is developing designs for the 60,000m² Marina Mall - which was revealed last November - on the east coast of the Middle East country.
Hughes, vice-president of HOK London, said international competition for work in fast-developing Qatar was creating a showcase for design talent.
‘It is incredibly competitive but that should be welcomed by architects. It is a bunch of people from all over the world driving to elevate the standard of work.
‘You want to play in the Premiership.’
Hughes said HOK was working on several schemes in Qatar, and would continue to seek projects in the country, which will host the 2022 World Cup.
‘It is an exciting country and there are a lot of opportunities for firms like us on masterplanning work and the detailed design that follows,’ he said.
Marina Mall will see five interconnected retail islands linked into the landscape. A body of water running through the centre will guide visitors, while internal waterfalls aim to provide a visual connection between the levels.
As well as a 10,000 sq m hypermarket at basement level, the mall will house cinemas, restaurants and spa facilities