Kathryn Findlay’s seminal but unfinished villa in Doha for Sheikh Saud al Thani was demolished last Wednesday to make way for a new railway line
Construction work on the partially built art foundation and home designed for the former minister of culture of Qatar – showcased in the Peter Cook-curated British Pavilion at the 2004 Venice Biennale – had been set to restart after a seven-year gap.
The plot’s new owners were going to appoint a contractor in the hope of finishing the project before the end of 2013, when the directive came through that the building had to be pulled down.
Findlay of Ushida Findlay Architects explained: ‘One section of the client body had signed off the report recommending a contractor to commence construction. Meanwhile, a separate department had recommended demolition as the villa lay on the line of the proposed new Doha metro.
‘The latter view prevailed and the order to demolish was carried out.’
Findlay, who is currently working on the 115-metre tall ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture in the Olympic Park, still hopes the concrete-shelled scheme can be reconstructed elsewhere.
She said: ‘The practice is discussing the revival of the project with another client. All the design drawings are intact and it is just as feasible to start on another site.’
She added: ‘You have to be philosophical about it. These things come with the terrority when you are trying to be ground-breaking.’
Work had originally begun on the project back in 2003. Around the same time Findlay was also commissioned by then Qatari minister of culture to draw up plans for the country’s Museum of National Textiles and Costumes.