January 20, 2021

New Waterfront Development for Qatar’s Futuristic City

Lusail Towers is a quartet of twisting aluminium clad skyscrapers taking centre stage in Qatar's newest and most radical development, Lusail City. The skyscraper project, which will be home to the Qatar National Bank, Qatar Central Bank, Qatar Investment Authority and Qatari Diar headquarters, is the latest of the new city's developments to have its awe-inspiring design revealed, and one can't fail to be impressed. 

The four towers, two of which will stand 70 storeys high and two that will rise 50 storeys, are arranged around a plaza. The plaza sits alongside the city's impressive waterfront and lies at the end of a wide tree-lined boulevard leading to FIFA World Cup 2022 venue, Lusail Iconic Stadium. Each skyscraper, designed and built by Foster + Partners, sits on an oval plan that rotates through 90 degrees as the building rises. The rotation creates an optical illusion giving the impression of a twisting asymmetrical structure. And, clad in marine-grade aluminium the towers will be, no doubt, a spectacle to behold as they shimmer and shine in the desert sun.

However, more than just a stunning building, the towers are designed with the desert landscape and the environment in mind. Like all buildings in the new city, the towers are required to achieve a GSAS (Gulf Sustainability Assessment System*) rating according to its operational sustainability and performance. As such, the impressive rotational design of the structures, which includes projecting fins that wrap around the building to shade windows, has been designed not only to amaze onlookers but also to limit solar exposure to the building as the sun moves across the sky from sunrise to sunset. The tower's project developers are targeting a 4-star GSAS rating. As such, the building design also includes numerous other elements and active systems to minimise energy demands, including cooling energy, and water consumption. None of which is entirely surprising for a city with sustainability at the heart of its conception.

Lusail City is Qatar's city of the future. Built almost entirely from scratch, the city was conceived as part of the Qatari government's drive to achieve the country's 2030 National Vision**. The futuristic city has been designed as a model for 21st-century living - a self-contained environment that fosters growth and supports the diversification of the nation's economy, sustains the living, working and educational standards of all, and protects and enhances the environment.

(*The GSAS is a green building rating that assesses the design, construction and operation of buildings and infrastructure to ensure sustainability.)

(** The National Vision 2030, is a development framework that informs Qatar’s strategies and plans to advance the country’s economy, protect the environment, and boost social and human development.)

Lusail City

The new coastal metropolis of Lusail is being constructed in the southern zone of the Al Daayen municipality, 16 km from Doha. Connected to Doha via new road systems and a new Metro rail line, the city will eventually become home to more than 450,000 visitors and residents. Qatar's growing population will find new villas, apartments and waterfront developments in residential areas across nineteen districts that will accommodate upwards of 250,000 residents. Over 190,000 office workers and 60,000 retail workers will find employment in the city's commercial neighbourhoods, business hubs, leisure and entertainment facilities. Thirty-six schools and a purpose-built medical district will attend to the city's educational and medicinal needs. And, countless visitors will find accommodation in any one of the city's twenty-two hotels. What's more with a golf district, sports district, entertainment city and islands, marinas, range of parks and open spaces, and a myriad of retail and dining options, visitors and residents alike will have countless options for places to enjoy their free time. 

While the city has some specific districts for residents, commercial activities, entertainment and leisure, medical needs and education, this urban setting has been designed with community needs and sustainability at its core. As such, its districts also function as self-contained, multi-use complexes. For example, residential districts are complete with local shops, cafes and restaurants, parks and open spaces, leisure facilities, schools and nurseries, medical services, and so on. The multi-purpose design caters for the basic needs of those who live there, creates a sense of community, and reduces unnecessary travel and the associated environmental impacts of private car usage. 

Even centralised facilities such as shopping malls and retail areas are designed with sustainability in mind. Facilities are linked closely to public transport options to increase the city's residents' mobility choices and reduce the number of private vehicles on the roads. Public transport options include a light rail network, complete with thirty-six passenger stations throughout the city and linked to the country's main metro line, park and ride systems, water taxis, and cycle and pedestrian routes. All are intended for maximum user convenience and to save energy and reduce vehicular emissions. 

Indeed, Qatar's newest city has been designed according to a comprehensive sustainable development plan. Almost 20% of the city is given over to open and green space, which has been conceived not only for recreation but also to create new habitat and enhance biodiversity. Those habitats are managed to minimise water consumption by planting hardy native tree and plant species and using greywater recycled from the city's world-class sewage treatment facilities. New marine environments are also being created to protect the coast and increase aquatic biodiversity. The city's infrastructure, aside from the overall requirement to meet GSAS targets, also allows for a sustainable operating environment. The city is equipped with one of the world's largest district cooling systems, intended to save 56 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. Every building is connected to a natural gas network, reducing potential electrical consumption rates. In addition to regular waste collection and treatment, a pneumatic waste collection system is in place to collect organic waste and recyclable materials. And, the entire city is integrated via its Smart City concept using smart meters, smart grid, automated home and office services and building management systems, and integrated traffic management systems, to enhance the quality of life and security and ensure environmentally-friendly management and operation of facilities and services. 

Supporting 2022

Lusail Towers are projected for completion by the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, as are numerous projects across the new city. In fact, Lusail City will be a focal point for World Cup visitors. The largest of the 2022 tournament venues, Lusail Stadium, is located on the city's eastern edge. The 80,000 seat arena will host matches from the Group Stages right through to the final bringing spectators flocking to the area. And, not only the Lusail's stadium will draw visitors to the city, but the hotels, entertainment and leisure facilities, including Entertainment Island, Qetaifan Islands, Lusail Plaza, Seef Lusail and the various parks and the promenades, and the Marina District will entice visitors in their droves. As such, the city will be one of the most significant locations supporting the 2022 event.

The World Cup in Qatar is being mooted as one of the most memorable in the tournament's history, with spectacular venues such as Lusail, city of the future to provide the foundations for the event it can't fail to be.

Main image: Manaf Kamil/Shutterstock

Published: January 20, 2021
Last updated: January 20, 2021
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