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Tripoli - Libya

Year of completion

June 2013



Gross floor area








Design team

Libya design

MEP/ Structural Engineer

Allabina Architecture & Engineering Consultancy


Hud Hud Contracting and Real Estate Investment




Mark Keville

Sasi Harib

Muftah Abudajaja

DOSHMA, built as Tripoli first independent art/cafe gallery takes inspiration from the 2011 Libyan revolution and response to both cultural and social change. The main form derives from the typical arch colonnade that is evident in the city of Tripoli, inverting it making it into an enclosed space. By function, the colonnade is a space where people perform all types of activities an exterior space where different people meet, walk, talk, sit, eat and so on experience by many people.

 THE location of doshma is strategic to the concept, located between Tripoli city center and the main universities, only ten minutes either direction.  Its stands as a reminder of the power of human endeavour and is easily accessible students and the young and old. Its a reminder of how far the city of Tripoli and the country have come to social and cultural change.

Traditional, Doshma means to protect heavily, used mainly in protection against enemy line and to house important weapons.  it’s usually a wall or a heavily reinforced vaulted structure. For the architecture intervention of Doshma, the form is a very light weight structure but with the same vaulted shape, instead of housing weapons,  it gives a node point within the city to thoughts and ideas expressed in the form of art, sculpture and so on, expressing that this is what is important for social and cultural future.

Doshma uses materials and workmanship existing within the Libyan market brought together in a very simple and constructive way. A culture that has been part of all Libyans for decades but never brought together under one roof and in this way.

Doshma acts as a picture, a moment in time, where a dramatic and important change is taking place that will affect many people for the rest of their lives. Like a painting or a picture, it has one frame and for Doshma gives a place to house elements that are important from the uprising, the struggle for self respect and freedom. Elements of the project was inspired by the uprising in the form of; the use of a container that was used to block streets and bring much needed goods, welded steel to reshape simple things like cars into fighting machines, block and concrete where fighters hide and retaliated. Taking these instances and elements under one single roof portrays that we are all the same living under the same roof.
 The built form has a single elevation set within an existing streetscape therefore the building and interior space has one direction outlook. This is important as the revolution should have only one direction. The glass facade is reflective during the day, this helps to reflect the reality of people’s lives and at night it is completely transformed where the viewer can see deep into the space, seeing the art work which expresses the freedom of human expression.

Doshma is surrounded by buildings that represent the reality that people see every day in Libya. Heavy construction, maximum use of space, unfinished buildings that are lived in and design without real thought or expression. In most cases people are trying to do something new, something different, modern, the result is a very confused conclusion. Doshma with concrete, steel, glass, a shipping container and local labour has given people something to think off. A space that is simple and within it contains different spatial experiences, different heights, different forms and an open and transparent facade looking out only to trees and sky. The space and form is a metaphor and reminder to the changes upon the country.

At a period of uncertainty, doshma is a simple structure built to last for 15 years, can bring a good investment and give clear and simple space to help in the change that’s taking place. Doshma in its simplicity, functionality and form is where architecture has responded to real events of social change and has exercised human innovation though design and build. Doshma hosted the critically acclaimed art exhibition ‘forgotten chatter’ as part of its opening in 2011. It has now established itself nationally and internationally as an architecture project of real significance with a changing society.
one roof, one facade, one floor one container, different special experiences, DOSHMA

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