Souk Waqif - Aga Khan Award for Architecture
Aga Khan Development Network

Souk Waqif

Souk Waqif

Location: Doha, Qatar (Arabian Peninsula)
Architect: Private Engineering Office, Mohamed Ali Abdullah
Client: Amiri Diwan
Completed: 2008
Design: 2004-2007
Site size: 164'000 m²

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The origins of the Souk Waqif date from the time when Doha was a village and its inhabitants gathered on the banks of the wadi to buy and sell goods. The revitalisation project, a unique architectural revival of one of the most important heritage sites in Doha, was based on a thorough study of the history of the market and its buildings, and aimed to reverse the dilapidation of the historic structures and remove inappropriate alterations and additions. The architect attempted to rejuvenate the memory of the place: modern buildings were demolished; metal sheeting on roofs was replaced with traditionally built roofs of dangeal wood and bamboo with a binding layer of clay and straw, and traditional strategies to insulate the buildings against extreme heat were re-introduced. Some new features were also introduced, such as a sophisticated lighting system that illuminates the market’s streets. In complete contrast to the heritage theme parks that are becoming common in the region, Souk Waqif is both a traditional open-air public space that is used by shoppers, tourists, merchants and residents alike, and a working market.

2010 Award Recipients