Competing Visions for a Modern Emirate: The Government Centre of the State of Qatar
journal article
The influx of petroleum revenue brought on by the 1973–74 oil embargo led to a dramatic widening of the scope of modernization efforts in the newly independent emirate of Qatar to include the first physical manifestations of a modern national identity in its capital, Doha. Chief among these efforts was the creation of a ‘New Doha’, the development of which included a design competition for a government centre complex that solicited entries from the offices of Kenzo Tange, James Stirling, The Architects Collaborative, and Günter Behnisch. An analysis of the brief, the government actors involved in the selection of a winner, and the entries themselves reveals conflicting visions of the architectural materialization of the new state. These conflicts encompass not only aesthetics, but also ideas concerning political structure, the relationship between the government and its people, and the audience to whom the architectural project was to be addressed. The choice of winner makes clear the national identity that the Emir aspired to at the time, while its failure to be built highlights the obstacles that remained to be overcome.

Keywords: Doha; competition; ministries; modernization; nation building; national identity
Himes, Adam. "Competing Visions for a Modern Emirate: The Government Centre of the State of Qatar." In International Journal of Islamic Architecture, Volume 7, Number 1 (pp. 143-169) , edited by Mohammad Gharipour, Bristol: Intellect, 2018.