Doha, Sunday 25th March 2012
While in Rome do like the Romans…my travelling brought me to Doha, capital of Qatar and in the Middle East, Friday and Saturday are generally week-ends with the work week starting on Sunday, so I have decided to follow suit by doing my blog on Sunday and give you some first-hand impressions of Doha, Qatar, a city I had never been before.
Qatar caught the world’s attention when they won with their bid to host the World Cup Soccer in 2020. Today we are in 2012, still 10 years away, but boy, oh boy, this city is one big construction site with many mega projects in the works. This morning I took the opportunity to drive around to get a good feel what the city is about and see what makes this city tick. While just over a million inhabitants live in Doha, with only one fifth being actual Qatari and the rest expatriates (!), the city is actually fairly small and easy to navigate through its well-tended roads. There is not much green and understandably the surrounding desert finds it way in the city as well by being very sandy and dusty (a challenge for lighting equipment!).
So what’s going on here… Besides the new airport there are projects in the pipeline like Lusail City, branded to become an example of an eco green city (Foster just won the bid to build a block of iconic mega towers), there is Education City with universities and other educational facilities, a complete residential township called Al Waab City, there are a couple of mega Towers being built like the Dubai Tower, The International Exhibition Centre Tower, supposedly to reach about 600m high, the new National Museum by architect Jean Nouvel, heaps of hotels amongst which the Four Seasons in the middle of Qatar’s answer to the Palm Resort in Dubai, called the Pearl of Qatar Island and not to forget of course the stadiums for the World Cup event.
Light Watch 3-41: So what about the lighting? There is a rich variety from the shopping mall with chandeliers in the opulent rich Pearl Island to the simple hanging bulb in the local (Waqif) Souq, from the over the top street lights on Al Waab Street to the straight forward street lights. I have not done my night tour yet but have been told that here in Doha LED has made its presence more and more felt, not in the least by the Asian Games held a few years back where the famous Torch Tower (which used to hold the Games flame) still stands tall wrapped in colourful LED lighting.
Corniche Road view to the business district (and the cranes)
Qatar National Museum in progress
Pearl Island arrival and shopping mall (chandeliers)
Shopping mall impression and chandelier detail (CFL!)
The Souq, artificial and day light
The colours of the The Souq
The National Equestrian Centre, note thr IR lamps for drying the horse
The Golfd Market sky lights and the Cultural Village (daylight)
Street lighting impression (who approved this streetlighting “monster”?)
The “Torch Tower” Hotel (next to the Stadium) day and night