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Proposal for \ hanging gardens of Doha\ debated.

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A vision for developing Doha's own 'hanging gardens' using green architecture, or 'biotecture,' was the topic of discussion at a Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) seminar this week.

French architect and urban planner Edouard Francois outlined his vision for sustainable building that integrates nature and architecture, and its potential for Qatar at an event at the Wyndham Grand Regency on Monday.

"The challenge for Qatar is rediscovering the outdoors. There is great potential in Doha to develop into a more liveable city, with greater use of quality outdoor spaces through extensive planting to help ameliorate the extremes of Doha's climate," said Francois.

"This vision for Doha encourages an architecture that is aesthetically lush and tactile, with use of not only plants but also natural materials like wood and stone, and a rich diversity of plants and animals."


He added: "Green architecture is not only about techniques, it's about the right attitude, and the right values, to address the pressing challenges in sustainability that face society today. Doha is really moving and shaking, and I am impressed with the types of projects underway here."

Local experts from various backgrounds and professions, including architecture, structural engineering, air quality management, environment and sustainable development and green education joined Francois to examine the technical aspects of his vision for biotecture in Doha.

Through techniques such as "green roofs" and "green walls" or vertical planting, whereby built structures are covered with vegetation, biotecture is used to encourage and increase the extent of biodiversity in a city.

Mark Ainger, a structural engineer with WSP Middle East, examined the elements of structural design and building construction required to bring Francois's vision to life, including maintenance and pruning, external frames to support vertical planting, and considerations for airflow around the building.

Eng. Inigo Satrustegui, CEO of Aire Limpio Qatar, spoke of the likely improvement that biotecture could bring to Doha's outdoor and indoor air quality, while Eng. Cynthia Skelhorn examined the potential thermal benefits and energy reduction, of vertical planting on buildings.

"The main point of methods such as vertical planting is to reduce air and surface temperatures, which also impacts building energy requirements," said Skelhorn, a doctoral researcher at Manchester University.

"In Qatar, where temperatures are high for such a large portion of the year, any amount of shading of paved surfaces or reduction in paved surfaces through the use of vegetation will make surroundings more comfortable and more aesthetically pleasing."

Two members of QGBC's Water Interest Group, Eng. Emmanuelle Brisemur of Degremont SA and Adam Smith of Polypipe Gulf, discussed the future water supply and technical irrigation systems that would be required for extensive green planting on buildings.

They emphasised a need for water-sensitive urban design, which focuses on storage, treatment and reuse of water from a variety of sources, including stormwater, groundwater runoff, recycled water and water recovered from air conditioning condensate.

Dr Anna Gretchting of Qatar University offered a landscape architect's perspective on the potential of biotecture for Doha, whilst her colleague Dr Nobuyuki Yamaguchi discussed the ecological choices that are implied by the "hanging gardens" vision from a scientific and philosophical standpoint.

QGBC Director Eng. Meshal Al Shamari said: "This seminar reflects a key element of QGBC's mandate - to bring together diverse areas of expertise from among our members and local and international experts to explore ideas for future sustainable initiatives in Qatar."

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Publication:Construction Week
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:May 8, 2013
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