Buildings in Doha with a Rich History

Buildings in Doha with a Rich History By Rithika Thomas - January 31, 2023
Torch Tower

Torch Tower

The structures of Doha are unique in their own ways. Their designs, architecture, and colours all play a part in displaying the modern view of Doha's development. But do you know the history behind some of these iconic buildings? Read on to find out the story behind these structures.


Sheraton Grand Doha, inaugurated on February 22, 1982, has been Doha’s iconic building for the past four decades, the cradle of manifold international agreements and symposia. 

The landmark was built in 1982 under the orders of Emir Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani. The first structure completed in the then new district of Doha was what is now known as the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel.

Sheraton Grand Doha features a 13-storey high atrium served by five glass-enclosed elevators and is surrounded by guest rooms. A refurbishment announced in 2011 was carried out over a two-year period.

Sheraton was one of the first structurally innovative contemporary buildings to be erected in Qatar, and the first international hotel in Doha. At a time when the city was just beginning its rapid development, this was the structure that gave it a forward-looking image. 



Currently the tallest building in Qatar, situated at 300m high and with 360° panoramic views across Doha, The Torch Doha is the result of comprehensive architectural, engineering and technical design. It was shaped to represent a colossal torch, which was used to hold its symbolic flame for the duration of the 15th Asian Games in 2006, the highest flame in the history of the games. The home of sports enthusiasts, it also features a revolving restaurant from where you can enjoy a panoramic view of Doha city.



Qatar Post (formerly Q-Post) is the national provider of postal services in Qatar. The General Post office, its headquarters building, has been on the Doha Corniche since 1988. 

Established in 1950 as the General Postal Corporation, it opened alongside the country’s first post office in Doha that same year. At first, British stamps were in use, in compliance with treaty obligations. These were issued in Indian rupee denominations with QATAR over-printed in English. The first date-stamp was used for registered letters at Doha Post Office on 17 May 1953. Additional post offices were then opened at Dukhan in 1956 and at Umm Said in 1960.

You can catch this iconic structure that is unique in its shape and design while driving on Corniche road.



Opened in 1976, Khalifa International Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium located in Al Rayyan, Qatar. The stadium was named after the then-Emir of Qatar Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, and under the ownership of the Qatar Football Association, it serves as the primary home ground of the Qatar men's national football team.     

Khalifa International Stadium opened in 1976, ahead of the 4th Arabian Gulf Cup, with a mostly symmetrical stadium bowl and a basic roof covering the upper seats of the stadium's western stand. The stadium hosted all 22 games of the tournament.

Its current fully-roofed, 45,857-seat configuration was opened in 2017, following a previous reconfiguration in 2005 that incorporated the stadium into the Aspire Zone complex and added a roofed grandstand; boosting its capacity from 20,000 to 40,000.



The Fire Station was originally built in 1982 and was the home of Qatar's first civil defence authority until late 2012, operating as a working fire station. It was repurposed and renovated in 2014 as an 'adaptive reuse project' to host Fire Station: Artist in Residence initiative. 

The lead architect, Ibrahim Al-Jaida, actively preserved the original details of the building, like the distinctive honeycomb façade and the tower and in doing so helped to preserve a piece of Doha's early-modern architecture. The annex and extended building were later additions to the original structure and together with the plaza, they form the Fire Station complex.

The building now includes extensive studios and workspaces, a woodshop, and a fabrication lab, alongside the Fire Station Cinema, Café 999, Cass Art (art supply shop) and gallery spaces housing local and international art exhibitions.



At 91 years of age, the museum's architect, I. M. Pei was coaxed out of retirement to undertake this project. He travelled throughout the Muslim world on a six-month quest to learn about Muslim architecture and history and read Muslim texts to draw inspiration for his design. According to Pei, the light fountain in the 9th century Ibn Tulun Mosque of Cairo was the inspiration.

Influenced by ancient Islamic architecture, it also has a uniquely modern design involving geometric patterns. It is the first of its kind to feature over 14 centuries of Islamic art in the Arab States of the Persian Gulf. The museum was opened on November 22, 2008, by the then Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad and opened to the general public on December 8, 2008.

The architect suggested a stand-alone island for the structure to avoid encroachments by other buildings in the future, which as we can now see, has paid off. 

By Rithika Thomas - January 31, 2023

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