La Cigale Parking

This must be one of the most challenging projects that we have ever had to deal with. The history of the project proves that. We have designed fully, both Architecture and Interior, a 48,000m² 240 keys hotel. 

The Design, Tender and Construction phases were covered in just under, an exceptional period of 40 months! This has to be compared to other hotel projects in Doha and in the area where the average Design/Execution period is around 5 to 7 years.

Add to that the fact that the project was radically modified during its Preliminary Design and Tender Phases, from an 8 M$ Retail Outlet, to a 25 M$ Boutique Hotel, to -what is today one of Qatar’s fastest and most successful Hotel projects- 110 M$ High end Hotel. And we are not mentioning a few other minor revisions!

Having said that, it will be easy to describe this latest addition to this hotel and that is a Multi level Parking structure. This started as an independently operated three level Car park with a capacity of 140 cars. Today it is a six level car park, with a capacity of 350 cars, topped by a 850 seats capacity Banquet Hall, linked underground to the main kitchen and a two levels linked onto the main Hotel building by bridges spanning 25m!

It also houses the Hotel’s 3000 KvA Power Plant, a 5000m3 municipality water storm water tank. And finally we had to cater for a pleasant arrival for the Banquet Hall access.

Talk about a challenge!

Our first instinct was to design a parking structure that is fitting the context of high profile, high-end hotel just 25m away from it. We met this challenge by design an external skin that achieves many objectives.

As a natural protection against to the harsh sun drenched climate of Qatar, the skin acts as a passive shading device, which reduces the impact of direct sunlight. This helps in preserving as pleasant an atmosphere as possible within the structure by preventing direct penetration and allowing natural cross ventilation. An adiabatic solution was contemplated, but unfortunately discarded for budget purposes.

However, the main reason of dressing the four facades stems from an architectural concept, which

addresses a voyeuristic approach. The spacing of the louvers is set in a geometrically increasing manner. Therefore, the densely set louvers at the lower levels prevent sun penetration, while when reaching the high levels (where the banquet is set) the widely set louvers allow much more visibility of the building’s mass. This revealing of a double identity of the building creates a strong sense of dialogue with the viewer; in fact the building looks very different depending on where one looks at it from as it can be completely blocked (from a short distance and at sharp angles) and it can be completely revealed (from far distances and fronting the building). The visual accessibility of the Banquet Hall activities (as seen at night from the low windows which seemingly broadcast the events happening within) is doubled by the lush planters created at those levels for the connection during daytime.

The dialogue with the attentive viewer is constant, and our objective is met by designing an interactive architecture that addresses the people and creates a link with them. We strongly believe the powerfully colored pearl-orange skin louvers will make this project a milestone project for Doha.