The Gulf Architecture Project


traditional house in Qatar


The Gulf Architecture Project (GAP) is creating an online digital collection documenting the architectural heritage of Qatar and the Gulf region for Qatar Digital Library. It is a collaboration between Qatar National Library, the University of Liverpool and Qatar’s architectural community.

To learn more about the Gulf Architecture Conference and Exhibition, click here

Project Details

Architectural heritage is one of the most important aspects of Qatar’s heritage and material culture. These were the historic homes, mosques, markets and forts around which Qataris lived their daily lives before oil. These buildings offered more than protection from the natural elements or others; they were the physical manifestation of Qatar’s cultural identity.

While most of the Gulf’s historical buildings were lost long ago, records of them remain in the form of photographs, films, drawings, maps and descriptions found in private family archives in Qatar and around the world. 

The Gulf Architecture Project (GAP), launched in January 2019, is locating and digitizing these collections for Qatar Digital Library before they are also lost, as part of Qatar National Library’s mission to preserve Qatar’s heritage for current and future generations. It is also collecting all known studies on the subject to create a comprehensive reference library.

Through these collections, the project provides a unique cultural and economic history of Qatar and the Gulf through the story of its traditional architecture, focusing on houses, and their associated material culture, social customs and history from the 1700s to the 1960s. It does this by identifying and recording the varieties of vernacular domestic architecture in Qatar and the Gulf, mapping their geographical extent, and examining how the trade and migration flows between Arabia and the wider world shaped Gulf Arab domestic architecture and material culture before oil.

The project is being led by ArCHIAM, a leading international research center for the study of traditional Gulf architecture at the University of Liverpool’s School of Architecture, working with Qatar National Library and key members of Qatar’s architectural community, who sit on the project’s advisory committee.


  • Digital collection for Qatar Digital Library
  • Online encyclopedia for Qatar Digital Library
  • Publications database
  • Publications
  • Conferences
  • Exhibitions
  • Specialist network  

Contact the Project Team

  • Syed Zuhair, Project Coordinator, Qatar National Library

        Click here to send Syed Zuhair a message
        Tel.: +974 44541937

  • Dr. Giamila Quattrone, Co-Investigator, The University of Liverpool

        Click here to send Dr. Giamila a message
        Tel.: +44 (0)151 7949977

Research Team

Qatar National Library: 

  • Dr. James Onley, Director of Historical Research and Partnerships
  • Syed Zuhair, Project Coordinator

School of Architecture, University of Liverpool :

  • Professor Soumyen Bandyopadhyay, Principal Investigator 
  • Dr. Giamila Quattrone, Co-Investigator
  • Dr. Ataa Alsalloum, Co-Investigator
  • Dr. Konstantina Georgiadou, Metadata Lead
  • Matina Vrettou, Digitization Lead
  • Claudia Briguglio, Research Assistant
  • Pasquale Larosa, Research Assistant
  • Professor Robert Carter, Research Consultant
  • Professor Ron Hawker, Research Consultant
  • Dr. Martin Goffriller, Research Consultant
  • Impact Data Metrics, Metadata & Database Specialists

Project Webpage, University of Liverpool 


Research Affiliates

  • Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Qatar University
  • Arab Engineering Bureau 
  • Architectural Department, Private Engineering Office
  • Qatar Museums
  • Urban Planning Department, Ministry of Municipality and Environment

Advisory Committee

  • Ibrahim Jaidah, CEO and Chief Architect, Arab Engineering Bureau
  • Mohammed Ali Abdulla Abel, Head, Architectural Department, Private Engineering Office
  • Dr. Fodil Fadli, Head, Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Qatar University
  • Dr. Anna Paolini, Director, UNESCO Regional Office in Doha   
  • Nur Alah Abdelzayed Valdeolmillos, Senior Architect, Capital Projects Directorate, Qatar Foundation
  • Professor Ali Abd Alraouf, Professor of Architecture and Urbanism, and Research Coordinator, Urban Planning Department, Ministry of Municipality and Environment
  • Fatma Al-Sahlawi, Founder, Doha Architecture Forum
  • Professor Thomas Leisten, Chief Archaeology Officer, Cultural Heritage Division & Director, Heritage Site Protection, Qatar Museums


  • Gulf Architecture Conference & Exhibition, October 2019
  • Traditional Gulf Architecture Week, April 2018