Forepeak Hotel Complex & Ship Workshop will be a beacon on the Qatari seafront. Ideally located near Ras Abo Abbud Expressway it is easily accessible by road, and can be easily seen by passers by making it an iconic symbol on the Qatari waterfront.
Historically, Doha thrived on its relationship with the water. The sea provided a livelihood and was the backbone of a national economy that consisted mostly of pearl divers, dhow builders and fisherman before the advent of oil. The invention of the cultured pearl in Japan in the 1920’s however had an adverse effect on the Qatari economy. And while the dhows have remained a national symbol, the last pearling dhow set sail in 1954. Dhows however still line the Doha coastline, connecting inhabitants to their past. As an important part of Qatari identity and history, this knowledge should be celebrated and saved for future generations. In order to maintain these important historical aspects that shaped Qatari identity, Forepeak seeks to honor and revive Qatar’s relationship with the Dhow construction industry and the sea. Forepeak is not about constructing a physical dhow, but about translating dhow building methods spatially and celebrating their ethos.
The design of Forepeak celebrates the waterfront and provides a connection point between the city and the sea. The building doesn’t simply store the historical knowledge and the local expertise but seeks to revive the past through the design of a research center and an active shipbuilding workshop, thus reactivating Qatari heritage through the reintroduction and the revival of one of its key traditions, shipbuilding; rather than simply looking at the past nostalgically.
The overall geometry of the building is highly organic, allowing for programmatic flexibility and adjustability, whereby different programs can be plugged in according to different requirements. Multiple courtyards also provide opportunities for locals to engage with the building as public spaces for people to gather.
Forepeak is not only a building but a way to recover an industry through a building, meaning that people will be constantly engaged and active. Forepeak seeks to celebrate the characteristics of the Dhow rather than its form. Constructed almost entirely out of wood, the building façade breathes and transforms itself seasonally; in that sense the building itself is alive.