The transformation of the former Ministry of Interior building into a boutique hotel recognises the historical and architectural significance of one of Doha’s oldest buildings. The adaptive reuse of this rare example of early city development in the region demonstrates a commitment to reducing the impact of construction and enriches the regional cultural identity, making an important contribution to architectural regeneration in the Gulf area.
Sitting squarely on the renowned Corniche waterfront and in close proximity to the Amiri Diwan as well as the Grand Mosque, the listed building – designed in the 1970s by Lebanese architect William Sednaoui – is a celebrated historical landmark of Doha. With its finely rhythmic façade and sculptural silhouette, the state building is considered an elegant demonstration of Brutalism in the Middle East.
The existing architecture was refurbished, adapted for use as a luxury hotel and extended by an additional top floor. A 260 m long plinth forms its new podium, creating a green oasis with lush vegetation, art installations and basins. Flanking the water, pavilions house a range of service and event facilities. They are roofed by a continuous brise soleil canopy of slender concrete ribs, offering shaded, private outdoor spaces.
Together with the atrium, the now covered inner courtyard forms the heart of the complex. A bar on the gallery of the first floor provides views down into the wide range of restaurant facilities on the ground floor. The ninety hotel rooms and suites spread over three upper levels, and are designed by Soho House Design, inspired by the glamour of the 1970s. The new roof top houses a spa and wellness area, a fitness room and a club lounge, offering views over the Persian Sea and the skyline of Doha.
The newly created podium enhances the horizontal aesthetics of the building, while the roof slats cite the linear structures of the existing pilaster strips. Their distinctive play of shadows shapes the entire design of the hotel right into the interior which was reinterpreted by a number of precise interventions. Carefully integrated additions to the existing building are characterised by high quality materials: white Calacatta and green Tinos marble as well as travertine reminiscent of the existing façade.