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Green Roofs the subject of DAUP events | Qatar University

Green Roofs the subject of DAUP events


The Department of Architecture and Urban Planning (DAUP) at CENG held on April 1 the opening ceremony to inaugurate its Rooftop Permaculture Garden and to launch an exhibition entitled “The Swiss Touch in Landscape Architecture”.

The event is a collaboration between the department, the Embassy of Switzerland in Qatar, and Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), and was sponsored by Al Sulaiteen Industrial Complex and Nakheel Landscapes. Its aim is to engage participants on the pioneering knowledge on Green Roofs developed at ZHAW and implemented in international projects such as the London Olympic Games venues and the Basel Urban Rooftop farm; and to translate the experiences and lessons learned to develop similar elevated landscapes in Doha and Qatar as well as other Gulf cities and drylands.

Attending the opening were QU VP CAO Dr Mazen Hasna, Swiss Ambassador in Doha H.E. Mr Martin Aeschbacher, CENG dean Dr Rashid Al Ammari, and DAUP head Dr Yasser Maghoub, department faculty and students.

The Garden and exhibition are part of a series of events under the theme “Landscape as Infrastructure for Biodiversity and Food Security: Perspectives from Switzerland and Qatar” which also included lectures and workshops on “Green Roofs in Switzerland and the UK and their application in Qatar”. The exhibition, which will run until April 9, features installations of hydroponic growing systems and native plants.

Dr Al-Ammari said that the College’s partnership with the Swiss Embassy in Qatar and Zurich University represents the commitment of QU to establish and advance collaboration with international institutions that will be of considerable benefit to partners, the institution, students and faculty, and the wider community.

Ambassador Aeschbacher said: “Both Qatar and Switzerland face new challenges and try to apply new technologies that suggest a more sustainable development. I am particularly proud that these lectures about landscape, sustainability, urban gardening and green roofs as well as the exhibition will take place at the College of Engineering Department of Architecture and Urban Planning at Qatar University, and I thank Qatar University for its hospitality”.

SAIC Chairman Abdullah Salem Al Sulaiteen said: “Our presence as a sponsor will allow us to participate more in related research studies and data from specialists working in this field in our region”.

Nakheel Landscapes manager Henri Pavageau expressed his company’s interest in participating in the event to learn more about the interaction between landscaping and biodiversity.  “We are also pleased to seize this opportunity to share our experience in the testing and production of native plants in Qatar”, he said.

DAUP associate professor and curator of the exhibition Dr Anna Grichting said:  “It is important for our students to be part of this significant event that advances the discussion on green urban planning and implementation. The Green Roofs concept is a timely one for Qatar as it continues its commitment to environment-friendly living as outlined in Qatar National Vision and the development strategies”.

The event program included an exhibition “Swiss Landscapes” and some research projects by QU students featuring landscapes that are socially, agriculturally and environmentally productive.  It also included the inauguration of a permaculture roof garden at the College of Engineering and an edible boulevard on the ground floor outside the building which was started last year as part of a UREP-funded project on Food Urbanism and Productive Landscape in Qatar conducted by Dr Grichting.

Urban Planning and Design Masters student Ayla Shawish said:  “The event gave me the opportunity to network and meet other academics and fellow researchers on a subject of critical importance for cities such as Doha that are seeking to develop green-concept spaces that will have a long-lasting positive impact on their communities”.

BA student in architecture and urban planning Sania Fatima said: “It was a great benefit to get an insight into the richness of Swiss landscape and opened up some ideas of how it can be adapted to the Qatari environment.  As an architecture student, I am glad to have had this opportunity to learn and see the impact and importance of the alchemical nature of landscape in relation to architecture”.   

Keynote speakers at the workshop were European Federation of Green Roof Associations president Dusty Gedge, Green Infrastructure Consultancy director Gary Grant, ZHAW research associate Nathalie Baumann and Gulf Organization for Research and Development post-doctoral researcher Dr Arvind Bhatt. Attending were representatives from Ashghal, Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP), industry, landscape firms, and students from QU and Hamad Bin Khalifa University, faculty, and members of the public.

During the workshop, students discussed their projects and the implementation of green roofs using appropriate species in Qatar. A competition will be launched to evaluate the best Green Roof designs under several categories.

A rooftop event entitled “Skyrise Landscapes, Biodiversity and Food Security: From Switzerland to Qatar” held in conjunction with the DAUP Student Association  featured remarks by Qatar Friends of the Environment president Dr Saif Al-Hajari, and presentations by Dr Grichting  and several international speakers.

DAUP Masters and undergraduate students presented on “The Color Purple. Visions for Purple Island and Al Thakira Protected Area”, “Wetlands in Drylands. Future Landscapes for Abu Nakhla Constructed Wetlands”, and “Qatar University as an Edible Campus”. QU teaching assistant and researcher Sultana Al-Nabet presented her project “El Muna. People and Food in Qatar”.