Here is what Qatar’s doing to the old flour mills near the Corniche

Elemental’s design concept for the Art Mill. Credit: Qatar Musems

An old flour mill that sits off of Qatar’s Corniche will soon be redesigned into an art gallery and cultural center with the help of Chilean firm Elemental, officials have announced.

The Santiago-based architecture group is the winner of a two-year long design contest held by Qatar Museums. The competition had attracted nearly 500 applicants from 56 nations.

Elemental is led by Alejandro Aravena, who last year became the first Chilean to receive the Pritzker prize, one of the world’s premier architecture awards.

Elemental’s design concept for the Art Mill. Credit: Qatar Musems

Judges lauded Elemental’s “serene” design concept for the Doha Art Mill, which entailed retaining its existing silos and adding new ones that would act as cooling chimneys throughout the site.

In a statement, QM Chairperson Sheikha Al Mayassa Al Thani, who headed the contest jury, said:

“Elemental’s assured handling of space and scale in its treatment of the silos creates a memorable and original scheme that evokes a strong sense of calm.
The team showed a love of simplicity in the use of humble materials, which will acquire a patina with age.”

Big plans

The mill sits on prime waterfront property that is located next to the Museum of Islamic Art and near the under-construction National Museum of Qatar.

According to officials, the plan is to reinvent the 80,000 sq meter industrial site into gallery and exhibition space with a “contemporary design.”

Art Mill site. Credit: Malcolm Reading Consultants

Education and conference facilities, conservation and storage areas and dedicated family spaces will also be included.

There are no details yet about which collections will be displayed in the Art Mill, or its launch timeline.

However, its scale will be significant — much larger than the Tate Modern on London’s Southbank.

Fire Station opening 2015. Credit: Chantelle D’mello/Doha News

This will not be the first time QM has given a historical building a new lease on life.

Two years ago, it converted Qatar’s former Civil Defense headquarters into the Fire Station. The building now serves as a creative hub for young artists that also has gallery space.

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