Qatar Embassy in Spain
Client: Qatar Government
Date: 2017 Competition
Budget: 8 million Euro
AZPML: Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Maider Llaguno-Munitxa, Ivaylo Nachev, Amaya Luzarraga, Paolo Toldo, Fanny Ciufo, Alaitz Arsuaga, Daniel Dent, Sohum Bagaria
Our proposal for the New Qatar Embassy in Madrid aims to produce a building that represents the Qatari culture without falling into the cultural clichés. We aim to produce a timeless and borderless architecture for a country rooted in deep traditions but looking to the future and ready to engage with global partners.
Our proposal is for the building of the future Embassy of Qatar in Madrid to become a prototype for Qatari Embassies worldwide: a magnified compass. Our proposal is for the Qatar Embassies to be oriented both to the sun and to the Qibla, trying to embody Qatar’s Islamic culture, not through outdated architectural languages but through the very organization of the interior spaces and the building’s materiality. The building in Madrid will relate its location to Mecca, as a central symbol of Qatar’s culture but also operate in respect to Madrid’s climatic specificities.
We have adopted a solid, lithic architecture, built in limestone and marbles, like many of Qatar’s historical buildings. The stone itself, will provide a subtle relation to the material texture of Qatar. In spite of its heavy materiality, we have aimed to express sincerity and openness as a message of goodwill which we hope will inspire the relations between both cultures.
The building of the new Qatar Embassy aims for an optimized building performance. By adopting a very compact form -a cylinder- we are reducing the envelope ratio of the building and its exposure to the harsh climate in Madrid, with very hot summers and cold winters. The envelope is characterized by the use of differentiated brise-soleils which will shield the envelope from solar radiation. The gradual variation of the brise-soleil/crescent will reinforce the passive performance of the building massing. Moreover, our planting strategy uses deciduous vegetation in the brise-soleils will add solar shading in the summer while enabling the solar exposure in the garden and the building in the winter. A vegetated roof will retain rainwater and humidify the immediate atmosphere.
Impervious surfaces in the site have been reduced to the minimum by increasing the presence of vegetation and water. A linear pond in the garden, radiating from the building’s centre will be pointed to Mecca to keep the Embassy related to Qatar’s religious traditions. Through this strategy we enable adiabatic cooling to control local temperature and thus improving the comfort of the visitors to the embassy, especially in the hot summer days. The interior spaces will also enjoy the benefits of the exterior microclimate through the possibility of activating passive ventilation systems through the building’s skin.