Nick Ames

Retro urban style

Regenerating the region’s heritage architecture can only be of benefit to a city’s identity.

The Art Mill project for Doha is one we have featured this month and I find it interesting on many levels.

Firstly it is good to see the recognition of the importance of Arabic culture by a nation, but secondly I really do hope it establishes a new architectural trend.

Rather than demolishing a structure the country’s authorities have taken the decision to re-use and renovate it. So many of this region’s older buildings are just torn down, which is obviously of detriment to any urban design heritage.

A building does not have to be centuries old to be worth preserving – for people who are interested in architecture something from the immediate past is always fascinating, if only to see how it influences current thinking.

It is part of the skill-set of an architect to take an existing structure and change its usage.

In many cases innovative and creative use can be made of fittings and spaces which combine an idea of its previous function with that of its new purpose.

Such design adds to the atmosphere and ambience of an interior as well – giving visitors a window into the past as well as a view of the reconstructed form and its new function.

The idea of transforming old industrial structures into leisure or cultural spaces is one which can only be applauded and I really do hope it sets a trend for the future of regional design.