The Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Residences in Doha, designed by John McAslan + Partners, with interior design by David Collins Studio and Jouin Manku is the first hotel to open in Msheireb Downtown Doha.
The hotel addresses Al Baraha Square - the largest covered open-air square in the Middle East and accommodates 123 guest rooms, 35 suites and 91 apartment residences.
The massing and elevational treatment of the hotel and residences is carefully integrated within the hierarchy, scale and character of the historic streets, lanes, squares and courtyards surrounding the site.
The design approach to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel is embedded in the core idea that the 21st-century architecture of the ensemble of buildings is enriched by key references from the past, and the traditional forms and details of Qatari buildings. These important contextual touchstones have been carefully interpreted to define a new architectural language which looks boldly to the future without abandoning the past.
The colonnades, a traditional feature of Qatari architecture, form thresholds between streets and buildings, offering a calm sense of architectural order, heightened visual perspective, and much-needed shade for pedestrians. The hotel colonnade also accentuates the decisively carved nature of building forms; the base sections have been hand-honed to produce a striated surface texture, and the upper sections are smooth with highly refined joint details.
In terms of the instinctive architectural approach, building façades are treated as solid forms, into which apertures and recesses are cut to reveal the mass, depth, and character of the materials. The façade is constructed of warmly coloured limestone, with solid corners at the lower level, and mitred joints to the reveals and corners at upper levels. These contrasts emphasise the carved nature and solidity of the façades, accented with highly crafted details. And this, along with the flush-filled jointing of the stone creates a uniformity of surface and detail that recalls the traditional rendered façades of Qatari architecture.
Al Baraha Square is conceived as an ‘urban room’, anchored by two architecturally strong civic markers: the Mandarin Oriental Hotel to the west, and the Cultural Forum (also designed by JMP) to the east. The hotel is close to West Bay, Souq Wasif, Al Corniche and the practice’s award-winning Msheireb Museums. The architectural form and spatial quality of Al Baraha embodies the ethos of the masterplan: the creation of outstanding buildings and urban space in a sustainable development that reflects exciting and coherent fusions of urban tradition and modernity. “John McAslan + Partners has responded well to Msheireb Properties’ vision to enhance and rejuvenate Downtown Doha, integrating sustainable principles with Qatari culture and identity to create buildings that are rooted in tradition, yet confidently contemporary.”