Interface, GBS tapped for huge LEED project in Qatar
By Christina Williams
Editor, Sustainable Business Oregon
The Msheireb redevelopment project will create a 110-building sustainable eco-district in the heart of Doha, Qatar.
Interface Engineering and Green Building Services will provide sustainability expertise for a development aiming to be the largest concentrated community of LEED-certified buildings in the world.
The 110-building Msheireb urban development project is an overhaul of the old section of Doha, Qatar's capital city. The six-phase project enjoys the full support of the small, wealthy country's royal family.
Interface Engineering, which specializes on sustainable building services including water and energy efficiency, will lead the five-year project from its Doha office, with an assist from Green Building Services.
Qatar's $5.5 billion rehabilitation of the area near Doha's historic souk will result in a mixed-use development that aims to emphasize street life and centralized urban living. Project leaders are working with the U.S. Green Building Council to certify the Msheireb project under the council's LEED for Neighborhood Development, or LEED-ND, certification.
"This is not going to be huge towers of glass like you see in Dubai, the architecture is going to be very contextual," said Omid Napiboor, president of Interface. "It's not as though they are trying to create this European or American vision. It really is an interest mix of modern design and Arabic context."
Napiboor said the Portland team's expertise with LEED building and water conservation strategies won the contract. The team will serve as the overall sustainability consultant, and Interface will provide the commissioning work for the buildings, verifying the performance of completed buildings. The development is planned as an eco-district with a mix of centralized and distributed systems.
Interface had $26 million in revenue last year not including work done out of the Doha office. It will staff that office with about 10 commissioning engineers for the project. Interface was invited to bid on the contract based on work the firm did in nearby Abu Dhabi, but the scope of the Msheireb contract is unlike anything else the firm has worked on.
"I'm excited about how much we will share and how much we will learn," Napiboor said. "And I'm excited to bring some new strategies back to Oregon as well."
The Msheireb contract is another tie connecting Oregon to Qatar. Last September, a delegation representing the Qatar National Food Security Programme was in Oregon to talk about cooperating to use clean technology and advanced irrigation to improve food security in arid regions.
Interface is also working on the design of the proposed Oregon Sustainability Center.
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