Niche Detail: Knowledge Enrichment Centre, Doha, by Allies and Morrison
WORKING DETAIL 17.02.11: Roof, external wall and inglenook for educational and cultural hub
The niche acts as a focal point within the entrance hall, known as the baraha or ‘little square’.
The detail of the niche combines and reinterprets a number of themes from Qatari cultural tradition. The form is based on the split wall or malqaf that allows light and air to enter the rooms of traditional houses while maintaining their privacy. Parapets were often also constructed in this way to direct the prevailing winds onto rooftop sleeping areas.
We have introduced a small fountain into the niche, recalling the association between the offering of water and the rituals of welcome and hospitality in local custom.
Light within the niche is provided by a window between the two split planes and by concealed fittings. Light washes and ripples over the Omani stone lining of the niche which is also continuous with the floor finish and wall base detail.
The main panel is formed of two layers, the outer of which is water-jet cut to a pattern derived from circular rock carvings found in the north of Qatar.
The rich mottle and veining of the stone is set against a white, textured paint finish which continues the character of the external render into the entrance hall. Laser-cut aluminium text is mounted above the fountain and features one of Dohaland’s principles for Musheireb - ‘a meeting, not a melting of cultures’.
Simon Gathercole, director
- Working details are attached as pdfs in the right-hand column