Doha, Qatar: As part of Qatar’s determination to explore new construction techniques, the 5thAnnual Façade Design & Engineering Middle East Summit was held at the InterContinental Hotel in Doha. Architects, engineers and consultants from around the world gathered to discuss ways of designing iconic yet eco-friendly buildings in the region.
Mr Nigel Eckersall, General Manager of Tangram Architects and Designers Qatar and Chairperson of the summit introduced the two-day event, which began with an overview of different football stadium designs as a means of better preparing the country for the 2022 FIFA World Cup games.
“We are in a pivotal time now in Qatar as we have nine years left to deliver our construction plans,” explained Mr Eckersall. “We must be clever and intelligent to provide sustainable buildings for the next generation and think about the legacy we are going to leave for 2022 and beyond.”
Mr Marcos Gutierrez, GCC Region Director of RFA Fenwick Iribarren Architects, explained the architectural design of the football arenas in Spain, one of which included the Valencia C.F. Stadium. He emphasised the importance of designing construction plans in the context of a country’s cultural, social and environmental makeup.
“Valencia has 17 neighbourhoods and we created the façade of the stadium to incorporate each one of them. The symbolism is that you have the whole city of Valencia inside the stadium,” said Mr Gutierrez. “We wanted to really identify everyone of Valencia that supports the football team.”
Mr Gutierrez also detailed the construction plans of the Education City stadium for Qatar 2022, which have been designed to harness power and reduce cooling demands in the region’s harsh desert climate. Its sustainability features will reflect and distort Qatar’s strong light to help keep the arena cool, even during summer months.
A series of presentations and exhibitions were also given from leading international façade experts in the field of lighting design. Mr Tapio Rosenius, Director of Lighting Design Collective, gave a presentation on the role of lighting in sustainable building. To date, he has been a lead lighting consultant for over one hundred projects in the United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East.
“We need to find a way to make light a non-commercial device, which is quite relevant to the region, and use it as a positive tool for all designers who are striving to build sustainably,” explained Mr Rosenius. “And direct sunlight and the energy it gives is very low consumer because it does not have an on and off switch. An energy-efficient lamp, on the other hand, is only saving power when it is switched off.”
The construction industry often requires specialised architectural and engineering green products in order to design such environmentally-friendly yet contemporary facades. Eco-Façade & Partners and lead sponsor of the event offers a variety of green products to ensure design support, fabrication and installation of an eco-friendly façade are successful.
“With the aim of accelerating sustainable building, Eco-Façade merges different architectural suppliers together. This is making construction more convenient for architects, investors and contractors who require special services and allowing them to become well-equipped to bring true art to Doha through their designs,” said Tufail Bhorania – Business Development Manager at Eco Façade.
In the afternoons, participants also attended networking events and group debate sessions. Ms Marie-Christine Harth, a Belgian architect with expertise working in Europe and the Middle East, found these beneficial to determining her future career path.
“The conference was very helpful because architects, engineers, sponsors and everyone else from the market were collaborating together in one place,” explained Ms Harth. “I hope the Middle East continues moving towards a green future, especially in terms of solar panelling. Doha is a very sunny place and we need to continue constructing sustainably. This idea isn’t just for architects, this is for everyone. Sustainable building is the future.”
Next year’s conference will be held on 24 and 25 February 2014 and bring together professionals from across the construction industry, some of which include government officials, developers, contractors and designers, to reevaluate the region’s progress in sustainable building.