On the occasion of the 2012 International Architecture Biannual in Rotterdam (IABR), I was asked by XML Architects to consider Doha’s pursuit of hosting rights for the 2020 Summer Olympics. The result is a series of short homemade (yes, amateur) videos that go on view as part of XML’s exhibition about Olympic cities at IABR (click here for more on XML’s exhibition).
Produced in December 2011, the films were made when Doha’s Olympic coordination committee was just beginning to put together its bid plan; therefore the films are more focused on examining the overall setting in which the Doha bid was coming together than on the bid itself. Qatar’s preparations to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup play a significant role in these videos. In May 2012, Doha, along with Baku, was eliminated for consideration for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Qatari organizers were quick to assert they would be back.
Each of the films pursues a theme: Culture, Infrastructure, Global Reach, Diplomacity. There’s a link to vimeo and then to youtube for each video.
Doha builds with an agenda that struggles to define the city, as both a global actor and a localized identity. Branding represents a deep-seated attempt at global significance.
Doha exhibits the ability to build, pursuing all the right ideas. And it’s happening, with or without the Olympics.
3. Global Reach
Doha’s advantage lies between its ability to finance the Olympics and its close ties to parts of the world currently not recognized as the Olympics’ marketing circles.
Doha might be pursuing a new kind of city, one that doesn’t need to be filled all the time. In fact, by not being filled all the time, it could prove that it’s more globally significant.
Thank you to: Samar Ali, Nasser Al Amadi, Mishaal Al Gergawi, Joumana al Jabri, Ibrahim Al Jaidah, Mitra Khoubrou, Massimiliano Lodi, Roger Mandle, Issa Al Mohannadi, Craig Plumb, Huda Smitshuizen Abifares, Rami el Samahy, Omnia Shehabbadin, Polona Susin, Huib de Vries, Christian Wacker.