Last month I saw a fascinating segment on Qatar by 60 minutes (video can be found at the bottom of the post), a natural gas and oil-rich country with the highest GDP per capita in the world. I recalled numerous aerial shots of their cityscape displaying an eclectic collection of buildings, and have wanted to do a post ever since. It was reminiscent of Dubai and I was fascinated to learn more about these interesting designs. Below you will find a collection of some of the unique buildings I came across in my search. If there are any buildings of interest not included in this list, please let us know in the comments!
Qatar is a sovereign Arab state located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. A strait of the Persian Gulf separates Qatar from the nearby island state of Bahrain.
Qatar has been ruled as an absolute monarchy by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century. Formerly a British protectorate noted mainly for pearling, it became independent in 1971, and has become one of the region’s wealthiest states due to its enormous oil and natural gas revenues. In 1995, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani became Emir when he seized power from his father, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, in a peaceful coup d’état.
Beginning in 1992, Qatar has built intimate military ties with the United States, and is now the location of U.S. Central Command’s Forward Headquarters and the Combined Air Operations Center.
Qatar has the world’s largest per capita production and proven reserves of both oil and natural gas. In 2010, Qatar had the world’s highest GDP per capita, while the economy grew by 19.40%, the fastest in the world. The main drivers for this rapid growth are attributed to ongoing increases in production and exports of liquefied natural gas, oil, petrochemicals and related industries.
Qatar has the second-highest human development in the Arab World after the United Arab Emirates. In 2009, Qatar was the United States’ fifth-largest export market in the Middle East, trailing behind the U.A.E., Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. With a small citizen population of less than 300,000 people, Qatar workforce comprises expatriates from other Arab nations (20% of population), the Indian subcontinent (India 20%, Nepal 13%, Pakistan 7%, Sri Lanka 5%), Southeast Asia (Philippines 10%), and other countries (5%).
Qatar has attracted an estimated $100 billion in investment, with approximately $60–70 billion coming from the U.S in the energy sector. It is estimated that Qatar will invest over $120 billion in the energy sector in the next ten years. [Source: Wikipedia]
Doha is the capital city of the state of Qatar. Located on the Persian Gulf, it had a population of 998,651 in 2008, and is also one of the municipalities of Qatar. Doha is Qatar’s largest city, with over 80% of the nation’s population residing in Doha or its surrounding suburbs, and is also the economic centre of the country.
Doha is home to the Education City, an area devoted to research and education. The city of Doha held the 2006 Asian Games, which was the largest Asian Games ever held. Doha also hosted the 2011 Pan Arab Games and most of the games at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. Doha will also host a large number of the venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and is currently bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. The World Petroleum Council held the 20th World Petroleum Conference in Doha in December 2011.
Like the nearby city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Doha’s economy is moving away from its dependency on the oil and natural gas industries, although unlike Dubai, Doha’s main focus is not tourism. Doha is seeing huge amounts of growth, with the population of the city increasing by more than 30,000 between 2004 and 2006; this has caused a boom in the real estate sector, with real estate prices skyrocketing.
According to the BBC, as of late January 2007, Doha is now a more expensive city than Dubai in terms of real estate prices. This rate of growth has led to projects such as the Lusail City project, which is being constructed north of Doha and will eventually house 200,000 people. Construction is also booming in Doha, a result of increasing corporate and commercial activity in Doha. This is most visible with the changing skyline of the city, as Doha has over 50 towers currently being constructed, the largest of which is the Dubai Towers. At the same time, 39 new hotels are joining Qatar’s booming tourism market, adding about 9,000 new rooms by 2009. [Source: Wikipedia]