The design teams were charged with developing innovative and unique design concepts for each suiteof the Sheraton’s GCC State Rooms that integrated principles of sustainability in their design process
Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar in partnership with Qatar Museums Authority, Qatar National Hotels Company and the Sheraton Doha Resort and Convention Hotel hosted a reception for the Sheraton Student Design Competition on Saturday, 28 January 2012, at the Sheraton, where participating teams presented their final design proposals.
Ten design teams comprising students from eight Qatar high schools - Al Bayan Educational Complex for Girls; Al-Ieman Secondary Independent School for Girls; Al Khor International School; Al Wakra Independent Secondary School for Boys; Doha College; Gulf English School; Qatar Academy; Qatar Leadership Academy - architecture students from Qatar University and Carnegie Mellon University, and interior design students from VCUQatarsubmitted their designs to the jury on Saturday at 4:30 pm. At the reception the same evening, the teams briefly summarized their projects, and allowed guests in attendance to view the work up close, ask questions, and examine ideas.Thewinners of the Competition will be announced by HE Sheikha Al Mayassabint Hamad Al Thani at a reception in the coming weeks.
VCUQatar Dean Allyson Vanstone addressed the gathering saying VCUQatar was thrilled to be co-hosting the competition. “Since its establishment in 1998, VCUQatar has served as a vital link to the community and co-hosting this evening’s event is one of the manifestations of our commitment.”
Dean Vanstone thanked Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassabint Hamad Al Thani whose vision and commitment towards art and design fostered this design competition and alsoVCUQatar’s event partners Qatar Museums Authority, Qatar National Hotels Company and the Sheraton Doha Resort and Convention Hotel for the support extended to make thecompetition a success.
She concluded by thanking VCUQatar faculty, staff and students; Carolyn Freeman, chair of the Interior Design department and the Interior Design staff at VCUQatar; Roger Griffiths, director of Design Entrepreneurship; faculty, staff and architecture students at: Qatar University and Carnegie Mellon University; high school faculty, staff, students and parents of the eight Qatar schools for their hard work, dedication and support.
“I am very pleased to witness the fruitful outcome of the event, which was initiated in the summer of last year. We are honored to have contributed in giving opportunities to our Qatari youth to highlight their design potential, which will be showcased within QNH and Qatar’s prided landmark hotel,” said CEO of Qatar National Hotels Company Hamad Abdulla Al Mulla. “Sponsoring this event signals our strong commitment to supporting the development of Qatar’s youth and continuous efforts to ensure Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Hotel continues its long legacy of civic participation.”
Griffiths and theInterior Design department at VCUQataralso thanked DakKopec, the guest lecturer; Roy Colquhoun, the videographer; the external critics who brought their design expertise and wisdom to the student teams; and Virgin Megastore at the Villagio Mall for supplying the equipment in thechillout zone for the participants throughout the weekend.
The Sheraton Student Design Competition came about last summer when Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassabint Hamad Al Thani asked VCUQatarto organize a student design competition in preparation for a planned remodeling of the Sheraton, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2012.HE SheikhaAl Mayassa asked that the competition focus on redesigning the five State Rooms, which are maintained at the Sheraton for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. She also requested that the students incorporate current technologies and employ sustainable design principles when possible, and that they pay particular attention to the culture of each country with the intent of developing designs that will reflect unique characteristics of each country. Each set of GCC State Rooms is comprised of a suite of six to eight rooms that include a formal majlis, dining room, kitchen, fully appointed guest rooms, and a private majlis, bedroom, and bathrooms for the Head of State. The scope of work extended to the immediately adjacent corridors and the mashrabiya that screens the suites from the hotel’s central atrium space beyond.
VCUQatar’s director of Design Entrepreneurship and the Interior Design department subsequently collaborated to structure thecompetition as a design charrette which spanned the weekend of 27-28 January. Each of the ten teams included one VCUQatar interior design student,one architecture student (of the six from Qatar University and four from CarnegieMellon University), two high school students from the eight Qatar schools, andone university design professor (of the seven from VCUQatar, one from QU, and two fromCMU). Two teams competed against each other on each of the five suites.
In addition, a pre-charrette meeting was held on 22 January at which team members met for the first time, viewed theGCC State Suites, and received information about cultural identity research from DakKopec, a highly regarded environmental psychologist, and Carol Hansen, director of the VCUQatar Libraries.The charrette began at 8:30am on Friday and ended with a formal design jury that started reviewing the work at 4:30pm on Saturday. Participants stayed at the Sheraton on Friday night so they could work into the evening and begin refreshed on Saturday morning.
The design teams were charged with developing innovative and unique design concepts for each suiteof the Sheraton’s GCC State Rooms that integrated principles of sustainability in their design process. The concepts had to reflect the unique cultures of each country while incorporating innovative technologies into the suites, innovativespace planning, volumetric development, and architecturaldetailing that are appropriate for the GCC Heads of State andtheir families and guests. The spaces and components that were to be considered included the formal majlis; the formal dining room; any adjacent auxiliary spaces such as corridors and restrooms; the Head of State’s private rooms, which include a livingroom/majlis, bedroom, bathroom, dressing area, guest restroom, and hallway; the connecting corridors of the State Suites and the mashrabiya that screens the suites from the hotel’s centralatrium space beyond.
Although the specified time of the charrette was brief, teams wereencouraged to develop their designs to as high a level of detail as possibleby specifying, at least conceptually furniture, fixtures, and equipment including plumbing andlighting fixtures; finishes and architectural detailing for floors, walls, ceilings; materials for wall and window coverings, bed linens, upholstery and accessories such as task lamps, art work, carpets.
VCUQatar students and alumni have been called upon on several occasions to design for the Qatari community.Some examples of successful work produced bythem are Qatar Vision 2020 identity development for the General Secretariat for Development Planning, the identity design for the Qatar Olympic bid, the branding for the Karwa transportation system, the uniforms of the Qatar Philharmonic orchestra, the Qatar Prix de l’ Arc de Triomphe, the Qatar Arabian World Cup trophies for the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club the interior design for the Shell Research Center and suites at the Ramada Plaza Doha among others.