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Major international contest launched for massive Qatar art gallery

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A global search has begun to find an architect to design a new 93,000m² art gallery in Doha

The proposed Art Mill gallery in Qatar will sit in the heart of Doha’s waterfront cultural quarter alongside the existing Museum of Islamic Art designed by IM Pei and Jean Nouvel’s National Museum of Qatar which is currently under construction.

Organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants, the competition calls for an architect to transform the large Qatar Flour Mills site - reusing, adapting and extending the existing grain silos to create ‘one of the world’s leading art galleries’.

The scheme is expected to contain between 60,000m² and 80,000m² of gross space with galleries, education, conference and event space alongside conservation and storage areas.

Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al Mahmoud, acting chief executive officer of Qatar Museums said the organisation was ‘open-minded’ about who might enter.

‘Qatar Museums is looking for an outstanding architect who will take immense care with the project. It presents an ideal opportunity both for new talent and designers who are on the cusp of developing as well as celebrated architects who genuinely connect with the site’, he said.

Competition organiser Malcolm Reading added: ‘This is a life-changing opportunity for an architect dedicated to excellence. The site has a remarkable open aspect with three sides adjoining Doha Bay, and the other linking to the city.

‘This is a life-changing opportunity for an architect’

‘Our approach here balances competitor and client needs but nevertheless, will test and probe practices. They should demonstrate evidence of passion, attention to detail, ability to envision transformational design, clarity of communication and experience that is relevant to the project objectives.’

The first stage of the contest requires interested architects with a minimum of seven years post qualification experience to submit two short written statements – a practice profile and relevant experience.   

A 20-strong long-list will be announced in summer 2015 and each will receive £5,000 to draw up strategies for the site and its link with the city.

From these proposals a shortlist of five practices will be chosen to develop concept designs for the conversion and extension of the Flour Mills. Each shortlisted practice will receive an honorarium of £30,000 for its work.

The shortlist is set to be announced in the autumn with the winning practice revealed in spring 2016.

Further information on how to enter can be found on this dedicated competition site.

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