The Vision – Sense of Place

What emerges, is a true sense of place. Doha’s Art Mill becomes a unique and identifiable place connected both physically and conceptually to its urban realm. At the forefront of worldwide cultural innovation, it will be a key voice in the international dialogue of arts, providing a perspective that is at once global and local: a visionary institution rooted in its Qatari values.

An international call for the redevelopment of the existing Qatar Flour Mills went out mid-2015. We submitted our credentials and were selected as one of the 26 international companies out of 489 submissions to move onto stage 2 of the design competition.

Competition called for adaptive re-use of QFM into innovative and modern Art Mill development that would sit in the prominent location on the Corniche just by MIA and MIA park. The Art Mill is conceived as a vibrant and multi-layered civic and cultural presence, a focus for the emerging campus of museums and cultural institutions at the eastern part of the Corniche. Design required the teams to develop a masterplan and landscape design that would allow the development to fit into the existing context of MIA and Al Riwaq gallery surrounding and park. But most importantly, design competition called for renovation and a creative solution to the adaptive re-use of the existing building. 64 massive silos are to remain in the main building which will result in a one of a kind exhibition space.

The Context

The Art Mill is intimately connected to its context – the larger family of museums in Qatar: the Museum of Islamic Art, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, the forthcoming Sports Museum, the National Museum, the Orientalist Museum, as well as the other art centres and galleries in the country. By staying firmly rooted in the local, the Art Mill receives nutrition from its environment, and channels it to produce knowledge, inspiration, art and culture, which are shared with the world.

The Art Mill will be a space of informal, life-long learning open to individuals of all ages and nationalities interested in expressing themselves in creative ways.

Art Mill – A World Class Cultural Destination.

Revitalizing the old four mill complex as an art and cultural hub, the Art Mill will speak to Qatar’s modern role in industry – known for years for its Oil & Gas activities, today Qatar is establishing itself as a leader in the Art industry.
Fittingly, the Art Mill becomes a world-class cultural hub for the display of contemporary art, setting the bar for international creative curation and communication and establishing new benchmarks in conservation and collection practices.

The Art Mill will focus on active engagement with arts, culture and heritage.

The idea The Art Mill leads logically to the concept of Art in the Park and thereby to The Sunken Art Park, the Dahal.

The Design Vision

Qatar has a rich and fertile cultural landscape and from this ground, this soil, a bountiful future can grow… the Art Mill is a synthesis of all that Qatar has been, is and can be. The Art Mill builds upon the legacy of the visionary leaders who founded Qatar’s cultural institutions that are developing to become celebrated museums housing world-renowned collections. It will instigate a culture of participation and help fuel arts and culture from within Qatar in order for people to engage in a cultural exchange between Qatar and the world. By emphasizing active engagement with the arts and by creating cultural experiences that spill out into peoples’ daily lives, art will become a necessity rather than a luxury, and an integral part of life. A vibrant cultural sector that encourages innovation and creativity will lead the transition to the knowledge-based economy envisioned in the Qatar National Vision of 2030.

Supporting National Development The National Development Strategy outlines the aims of the Qatar National Vision of 2030 and highlights the particular importance of culture for social development and national progress. Qatar Museums, the driving force behind developments in museums, arts and culture in Qatar is hence a key contributor to the developments outlined in the National Vision. Our concept for the Art Mill will actively support Qatar in achieving these aims…

1. Culture, Heritage & Traditions

  • Preserving Qatar’s heritage and enhancing its Arab and Islamic identity
  • Balancing modernization and preserving traditions

Qatar is developing and undergoing rapid economic modernization – culture and art offer ways to express and reflect on identity, culture and values.

The Art Mill will…

  • Focus on active engagement with arts, culture and heritage
  • Invite visitors to actively take part in art production through workshops, courses and residences
  • Offer cultural programming that spans the full spectrum of abilities and experiences
  • Nurture exceptional artistic talent in the country by increasing the number of individuals interested in arts and culture supporting the advancement of their skills

2. Cultural Exchange & International Collaboration

  • Developing a spirit of tolerance, constructive dialogue and openness towards others at the national and international levels
  • Intensification of cultural exchange with the Arab peoples in particular and with other nations in general

At the vanguard of worldwide cultural innovation, the Art Mill will be a key voice in the international dialogue of arts, providing a perspective that is at once global and local: a visionary institution rooted in its Qatari values.

The Art Mill will…

  • Focus on “local first”, ensuring that the needs of Qataris and local residents are met
  • Activate and promote local voices on the global art scene
  • Connect Qatari culture to international networks of visual culture
  • Develop international and intercultural dialogues and a spirit of tolerance and openness

3. Social Development & Education

  • Fostering the development of all people to enable them to sustain a prosperous society
  • Providing accessible educational programs for life-long learning
  • Developing an educational system at par with the highest international standards, preparing Qatar’s students to take on the
  • world’s challenges and become tomorrow’s innovators, entrepreneurs, artists and professionals

Qatar is a very young nation led by young people. The Art Mill will focus on the youth who will sustain the society and country in the future.

The Art Mill will…

  • Be a space of informal, life-long learning
  • Be open to individuals of all ages and nationalities interested in expressing themselves creatively
  • Operate throughout the year, with generous opening hours extended to the late evenings
  • Offer children’s courses, programming for teenagers and young adults and parents
  • Help develop the skills of the young people of today who will benefit from – and contribute to – Qatar’s cultural landscape in the future

4. Skilled Employment

  • Developing a diversified economy that gradually reduces its dependence on hydrocarbon industries, enhances the role of the private sector and maintains its competitiveness
  • Increasing the ratio of Qataris in the workforce and enhance the calibre of nationals

Qatar’s transition into a highly skilled knowledge based economy is well underway – the Art Mill has a key role to play in taking this to the next level.

The Art Mill will…

  • Be uniquely equipped to offer the support and resources needed to develop creative entrepreneurs and prepare youth for a creative career
  • Help nurture young creative businesses, supporting the expansion of a Qatari National-led private and not-for-profit sector
  • Define creative industries in their broadest form, incorporating science and technology with art, culture, design and architecture

5. Family Values

  • Building strong cohesive families that care for their members, and maintain moral and religious values and humanitarian ideals

Family and community are at the heart of Qatari culture – the Art Mill will celebrate this through both its physical design and its programming.

The Art Mill will…

  • Specifically cater to the Qatari and expatriate families that live in the country
  • Offer spaces and cultural programming designed with large family-groups in mind (the average size of the Qatari household is 10 members – report by the Supreme Council for Family Affairs and Qatar Statistics Authority, 2012)
  • Promote cross-generational learning through interaction and inter-family dialogue
  • Create enjoyable experiences for families to socialise together