Qatar Art Mill Competition

Submission: June 26, 2015
Registration June 26, 2015
Language: English
Location Doha Bay, Qatar 
Prizes: £5,000 semi-finalists honorarium, £30,000 finalists honorarium
TypeExperienced Architects


Qatar Museums is now searching for an architect to design the Art Mill in Doha. At circa one million square foot, the Art Mill will be one of the largest and most forward-looking art galleries in the world. The museum will require an accomplished design, with architectural integrity and presence, for the spectacular and historic waterfront site reserved for the project. The new institution will complete Doha’s acclaimed sequence of museums devoted to art, including notably, I.M. Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art, and Jean Nouvel’s forthcoming National Museum of Qatar.

As much a bridge between cultures as a treasure house, the new museum aims to inspire new insights, encourage receptivity, widen artistic sensibilities, and promote understanding. The Art Mill will celebrate imagination and creativity.

A new model for international design competitions, the Art Mill International Design Competition is structured to allow a highly focused, three-stage search. Qatar Museums is specifically seeking out new – as well as established – talent looking for architects with evident capability who are on the threshold of distinction.

The selection process is open to practising architects with at least seven years’ experience post final professional qualification. To be considered for the initial long-list, please complete the online template (ZIP archive, 140 KB) – two written statements along with relevant images of past projects – and send this via the electronic entry form by 14:00 BST June 26, 2015 .

Doha is already home to some of the world’s most inventive and creative buildings, with more due for completion in time for the World Cup celebrations in 2022.

The proposed site for the Art Mill was originally a key node within the Arabian Gulf port, essential for the import of grain. It is presently occupied by Qatar Flour Mills, which sits to the east of Museum of Islamic Art (MIA). The site has a distinctive open aspect with three sides adjoining Doha Bay, and the other linking the city. The mill operation will now move to purpose-built new facilities.


The industrial process of milling has left a fascinating legacy in the layout and spaces of the existing buildings on the site, notably voluminous spaces and a rhythmic, patterned promenade of vertical silos. Some of the Flour Mills buildings possess an authentic monumentality in terms of positioning, scale and noble forms. Re-using and adapting these structures will be integral to the project.

The site area is circa 83,500m²/898,787 sq. ft. It is anticipated that extensive outside space will be integrated with the design, offering opportunities for cross-programming and public engagement as well as creating a beautiful and sustainable setting.

The building (or buildings) is/are expected to contain between 60,000m² and 80,000m² of gross space (645,835 and 861,113 sq. ft.), plus underground parking.

While predominantly comprising gallery and exhibition space, the museum’s brief also includes extensive education, conference and event space, as well as state-of-the-art conservation and storage to match the diversity of the collection. There will also be facilities to support the community and provide amenities for visiting families.

With its reinvention as a place generating cultural rather than physical sustenance, the site is well placed for transport and social amenities, supplying the missing jigsaw-piece to complete the public realm around a key civic quarter. Adjoining and linked to MIA park, and a few minutes’ walk from Doha’s famous Corniche, the site offers panoramic views across the bay to the skyline of the financial district.

The Art Mill will be dynamic, sustainable, contemporary and true to its social and cultural responsibilities. It will also acknowledge the heritage and setting of a historic site at the heart of the port and city.

The budget will reflect the significance of the building and the provision of international gallery standards.


Qatar Museums is searching for an exceptional architect, who identifies with the project’s values and is dedicated to excellence. The selection process is open to practising architects with at least seven years’ experience post final professional qualification. This three-stage competition process has been devised to test competitors, whilst optimising time and resources, and avoiding unnecessary waste in developing schemes.

  1. stage one is an open call for interest to establish a long-list of 20 architects;
  2. stage two sees these semi-finalists briefed and asked to envision strategies for the site and its links to the city;
  3. stage three will centre on five finalists who will be given a further briefing and asked to develop more detailed concept designs for the conversion and extension of the Flour Mills’ structures.

The project offers a life and career changing challenge; this is a cultural development ne plus ultra, and the brief at competition stages two and three calls for an analysis of many competing requirements as well as asking for a transformational strategy to the site and program.

We are specifically seeking out new as well as established talent, looking for architects with evident capability who are on the threshold of distinction. A contribution to expenses of £5,000 will be paid to the semi-finalists. An honorarium of £30,000 will be paid to the finalists. An exhibition of long-listed and shortlisted schemes may be held, with schemes credited and also posted online.

English is the official language of the competition; all materials submitted must be in English only.

  • Accomplished and outstanding contemporary design demonstrating architectural integrity, dynamism and memorability
  • Design reflecting awareness of the historic, waterfront site and civic setting and connections
  • Creating a museum, which is as much a bridge between cultures as a treasure house – enriching lives and providing an unprecedented learning environment
  • Respect for the natural environment, encouraging environmentally sound technologies
  • Creating architecture that combines social purpose with design excellence

Go to the competition



Date: June 4, 2015