FROM THE AGA KHAN AWARD FOR ARCHITECTURE:
Sheikh Saud bin Mohammad Al Thani had met Jean Nouvel on the occasion of the retrospective exhibition of the work of the architect at the Centre Pompidou in 2002 and invited him to design a tower to fit into the vision for the development of Doha. The Tower is a cylindrical volume that measures 45 metres in diameter. The steel and concrete structure follows a diamond-shaped grid that bends along the virtual surface of the cylinder. The facade uses a double-skin system. The unique exterior skin is composed of four “butterfly” aluminium elements of different scales and evokes the complexity of the mashrabiyya, while serving as protection from the sun. The pattern varies according to the orientation and respective needs for solar protection. The internal layer is a slightly reflective glass skin that completes the solar protection. The tower is accessible by a landscaped garden sloping down to the large lobby under a glass awning surrounding the building. This bias suggests that the tower is deeply rooted in the earth. Vegetation and glass canopy overlap so to erase the boundaries between nature and the environment created by man. A monumental atrium rises from the ground floor up 112 metres to level 27.