Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio


Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

Barcelona architects Xavier Vilalta Studio have won a competition to design a tower for Doha, Qatar.

Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

Called Alpha Project, the design is based on tha patterns of ancient Arabic tiles.

Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

Here are some further details from the studio:

XVSTUDIO (Xavier Vilalta Studio) have won an international competition for a mixed-used development in Doha Qatar.

Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

The ALPHA PROJECT´s is a completely self-reliant, innovative development.

Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

The project aims to sensitively capture the essence and culture of the city of Doha, with ancient design traditions forming the fundamental basis of the plan and modern building technologies used as a tool of expression.

Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

It is an independent Ecosystem that demonstrates a combination of advanced building design with a historical heritage.

Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

The design is generated and molded by the surrounding environment, with which it works in harmony to take full advantage of the available natural resources.

Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

With passive design elements inspired by the vernacular architecture to provide stable conditions in the harsh climate and the energy harnessed from wind, water and sun as the primary energy sources, it becomes a sustainable development that combines the passive and the active systems.

Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

The structure and planning of the scheme is efficient, advanced and sustainable.

Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

Connections made across the towers improve the accessibility and efficiency for users.

Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

The towers and bridges blend together to work as a whole and frame the core, public space.

The towers and bridges work together to create a new typology of High Rise buildings.

Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

The unique skin of the building is based on the ancient Arabic pattern of the GIRIH tiles, which is also used as the backbone of the planning.

Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

It defines and shades the semi-outdoor spaces throughout the interior of the building and extends outwards, strengthening the connection between the interior and exterior of the building.

Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

The exterior pergolas shade the pathways that wind through the landscaped gardens.

Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

LOCATION: Doha,Qatar
CLIENT: Sheikh Sultan Abdulrahman Al Thani
DATA: International Competition – 1st Prize

Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

Project Director: Xavier Vilalta
Project Team: Noelia Arquero, Dubravka Matic ,Oksana Luzika, Zazie Maquet, Sebastien Capurosso, Reza Nik, Inés Aquilué, Ketty Voltat, Nóra Sebestyén, Dora G. Kocsis, Giuseppe Rago

Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

Alpha Project by Xavier Vilalta Studio

See also:


Dynamic Architecture
in Dubai
Dezeen’s top ten
More architecture

Posted on Sunday June 13th 2010 at 10:27 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • LX

    oh man, come on. reinventing the mittal orbit of the olympics in london??? be responsible architects!!! ….

  • jeanpierre

    this tower is more twisted than the one published last week, you won!
    celebrate your success for this week, i’m coming with another project based on dragonfly wings, islamic tiles and sand dunes next sunday.

  • REN

    this is very COOOL!!! i like the exterior and the interior and the way the ecological approach is integrated in such a complex project. it looks like nature.congratulations!

  • ste

    this simply hurts ones eyes in every scale shown… the form doesnt make any sense… it doesnt create any qualities… the spaces are boring and dont profit from the formal language… the interior is cold and depressing and the patterns are not even working… what is poor in project only based on patterns… wow

  • Mac

    Rubbish… I wonder if these peeps ever have been to Qatar! To clad the “towers” with some arabic pattern doesn’t make it arabian architecture.

  • kle

    We should hurry up to see Qatar for the last time.

  • Shmuck

    Simply a horror. A giant grey horror of absoloute deprression! it makes me believe in the black parade as a better ulternative to looking at this.

  • Es fantástico y muy trabajado en todos los detalles.Espero que tengais mucha suerte y lo podais realizar.

  • franz

    i hope vilalta studio reads all these comments!

  • Depressive, there is no single picture making me will to live there or even visit it. The “architects” – whether we can call them like that – probably spent more time working on the text rather than on the project.

  • Félix Guarnido

    It is a wonderful project, an explosion of light and design, playing well with the spaces and use systems of water and air.

    My congratulations to the architects!

  • seso

    The way the islamic pattern act as a “moucharabieh” is a very effective method to control the amount of heat in such warm climate & also gives context to the building compared to its surroundings. Great project!! can’t wait to see it built!


    Very Original Project with a real respect to the arabic/islamic introverted architecture plus a Sustainable vision. i also like the masterplan and how the towers are linked to the landscape .
    Bravo !

  • REN

    i see people don´t understand anything. after looking at the images and the texts i am surprised seeing this comments from people. luckily, some of them understood the project but it seems to me that the ones that didn´t they have never been in the middle east for sure. Have you ever seen a building that protects itself from the sun in such a climate?have you ever seen masterplan that folds the landscape into the high rise? have you understood that the shape of the building has to do with the solar panels that are in the façade?
    i give my support to the alpha project, 100%

  • Ivan the Great

    Amazing Project!!! Finally a foreign architect makes a tribute to the culture of Qatar, integrating it with the high quality Eurpean design! In fact, there are many similarities beteen the climate and cultural heritage of Qatar and the south of Spain.
    XVStudio has manages creating beautiful spaces and places that would atract and insire visitors from all around the world. The projest is also a result of an advanced knowledge in sustainability, strictures, and materials. It will be a reference for the local tradition and everything that will be built later.
    Congratulations to Mr. Vilalta and his team! We want to see it built very soon. Keep up the great work, Ole!

  • Nina

    Very interesting, unusual, original project!
    This looks amazing and at the same time it is reliable and comfortable, a lot of space and ligh.
    The project of future, without doubts!

  • artvanik

    why doesn’t anyone actually look carefully at how these buildings work on the site and with the different active and passive system, as opposed to looking for a ‘pretty’ picture to look at. it seems like everyone is looking for ‘master renderings’ these days. i think it’s a wonderful concept with great sensitivity to the culture and the climate. i think there are many exceptional spaces in the complex which i would love to visit one day.
    good job to the young firm!!

  • renzo

    the design looks very thorough and well-thought out unlike many other competition entries. it will be exciting to see the next stage of the project as things get more detailed. i was losing hope in the middle east but it seems like qatar is thinking more about what they’re building as opposed to hiring a ‘starchitect’ to whip up something pretty to awe the public with.
    the people that don’t see nice spaces in the design just lack imagination.

  • gaque

    i think only picture #4 (the canopy and garden) has a nice architectural quality–the rest are pretty harsh and/or bland.

    just in case someone was actually convinced by the “passive” systems diagrams: they’re a joke.

  • hana

    ‘interpreting Arabic traditional architecture’ doesn’t mean crazy shapes full of over-designed patterns without balance… come on!

  • CB

    It´s good to see architecture that considers and responds to the context and that works with its environment. An interesting design that I hope to see built.

  • m_arch

    I have never been such a suitable proposal for the middle east, I have been there twice and all I was able to do during the day is stay in a shopping center with air conditioning all time, because it was impossible to walk around the city without protection. All buildings (i might say european or american buildings) needed so much energy for refrigeration that I found them as pasted from an existing building in a northern country. Now that I see that someone has payed attention and from Europe has made a concious proposal I feel proud of their work.

    Come on guys! do not get afraid of making new proposals like this! that’s what they need there, fresh ideas to have refreshing spaces!

  • Charles

    finally a project that refers to the Arab culture and that is not the usual and boring transposition of European architecture in Qatar…
    very bold, like all the revolutionary architecture has always been! I like it!

  • ruben grieg

    human after all

  • Strong Concept that is reflecting local culture!

  • Morten

    There might be some fine ideas present in the project, but the design (design is important, no?), look as it’s made by someone playing with skethup for the first time.

  • OX

    There is a soul which brings life not only in this project but elsewhere around it

  • a_way

    this project is flawed and totally fractured. the proportions are grotesque and totally coarse. there is not an ounce of subtleness nor delicateness. its a huge messy gray mass. even the small facade details resemble broken glass. being sustainable does not justify this form (sustainability is the minimum that ALL buildings should be now days) and having recycled in a few middle eastern patterns does not make it local. this is not bold, its called being out of control. shame on us for producing and encouraging this kind of architecture today. we really need to stop a moment and think where are we headed to!

  • ehab

    excuse me but nothing local about this ,only the pattern and still there is way more better patterns than the one used here

  • Pete

    I recently arrived to live in Doha after 2 years in London. Imagine the shock when I can’t get from my front door to the corner shop without a car.

    The concept design is a step up from what exists here today. Local Qatarian architecture is best viewed in the suburbs where they have the old Villas. Single level with wind catches, wide eaves, high ceilings, and all in white. In terms of ‘Al Hambra’ style I have not seen anything of the sort. Perhaps the mosques here hold those pots of gold. The history of the Qatari’s tells a nomadic story and they have industrialised in 15 years; China took 30 with alot more man power so hats off to the Qatari’s even if there are a few architectural mix ups along the way. I however don’t think this is one of them.

    The shading techniques are vital here (rarely used in current high rise), the shape is different and will be expensive to build but modernity always rules over budget here.

    I can say the most imprtant thing about this design is location and connection from ground to sky. Life here is in a bubble, from House, Car to Work all in A/C. Like a small Russian Town in Winter a little, but without the Public spaces which are easily accesible. The old parks and souks have been cut up by freeways and amputated by high rise buildings on a mid west American moddle. This is a step forward from current architecture not because of the arabic memories but the attention to climate and connection to the ‘humans’ on the ground.

    We just need a bloody light rail system here so it all connects!

  • jenny

    very cool design! i can see it is very futuristic and it fits very good in country like qatar

  • Gaby

    I really dont see how a project like this could have won any competition. Who on earth was judging this projects?poor spaces, poor criterias, the text is not reflected in this building…..ecological? Qatari? Really?…. Sustainable wise those schemes just dont work..not in a million years. Please dont build this, poor Qatar!

  • Seb

    Its currently 45 degrees C during the day in the gulf (35 at night). Imagine walking through the main courtyards…. you would be physically roasting before you even make it into the building! This has not been designed for human comfort on any level, be it physical, phychological, spiritual. The spaces are jaringly offensive!! There is no humanity to any of this….

    Here are a couple of free ideas from urban designer who lives in the gulf:
    – Huge expansive spaces need more shade & natural planting (where are the arabian traditions of ‘oasis’ or ‘gardens under which rivers flow’??)
    – Exclusive use of grey colour is very drab. You quote words such as “inovative / ancient design traditions / independant ecosystem / advantage of natural resources”. Nothing in your materials pallette reflects these high sounding ideals. (It looks like drab 1980’s london to me!!)
    – Monumental “look but don’t touch” waterfeatures are so overdone. (They were doing that in victorian times…please!!!). Why cant i walk through / over the pools / touch the water? Maybe i’d like to dangle my feet in the pool as i wait for my friend? Misters to cool people down as they walk through the landscaped corridoors? Why aren’t there different effects of water ripples on surfaces / cascades / etc. (I can re-create your fountains using an inflatable pool and garden hose….. this is what you call inovative?)

    This is a sea side arabian city that is meant to be Are your clients bankers in London or visitors to sea-side arabian is so drab. Arabian culture is not that monotonous (Reflected heat & dust will make thradiating out from all that hardscape . Here are a few ideas…. make the waterfeatures interactive so people can walk over them and touch Exceptionally boring courtyards

  • i agree with seb

    but i think we are just watching some of the material, they’re not going to show all the information they have, i’m sure they’ve considered most of the points you speak about, or at least I hope so!

    why do you think you can’t dangle your feets in the pool? lol

  • The fact that everyone has his own idea about a project like this means that this building has a strong character. The architects’ work testimony their personal point of view in a contemporary debate. Everyone is building high rise in the Gulf, most of them are repeting previous experiences. This project is unique.
    Architecture is not only technique. It is not interesting if it gives solutions to problems because, from these solutions, other problems will rise up. Architecture must rise questions. A building is the personal signature of someone in a specific moment in time.
    The building seems to be the frozen moment of an evolutionary process. The elements of which are outlined in the master plan and concentrate in the building. These elements are put together in a “bottom-up” organization, where different formal solutions are still to be defined. This way, the design process has its own solutions.
    Great work! What’s the name of the architect, again?

  • Gaby

    Seb: I agree 100%

    Giulio: “A building is the personal signature of someone in a specific moment in time”.

    A building should reflect, represent and answer a population´s or group of people needs in the most functional way. Taking into consideration a wide range of criterias. It should represent the city´s evolution and ways, not “be the signature of someone in a specific moment in time” its not a painting. So I disagree, it shouldn’t represent the architects ego at a given moment in time, it on the contrary should target the needs of it´s future user, in order to enhance and upgrade these people way of living and interacting on a social and on a technical level.

    Good architecture shouldn’t loose its essence. Many architects trying to be arty, just get lost in the process, resulting in something rather not useful and that doesn’t work properly. Sadly this is just the case. Masterpieces should be left for the experts.

  • Pedro

    Looks like a fragile castle of cards.