Urban Space of Qatar’s Built Heritage


Session Title:

  • Public Spaces (Papers)

Presentation Title:

  • Urban Space of Qatar’s Built Heritage




  • In recent years, the territories of creative practice and archeological study have seen a marked increase in collaboration through the integration of immersive and interactive technologies. This unique collaboration between these fields has produced fertile territory for new syncretic forms for research in the perception and experience of information. In 2011, Virginia Commonwealth University‑Qatar’s School of Art, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Department of Islamic Archeology and the Qatar Museum Authority embarked on a collaborative project in the visualization of the State of Qatar’s built cultural heritage. The principal aim of this project, entitled ‘Visualizing Qatar’s Past’, was to build a visual record of Qatar’s archeological and heritage sites and to develop new methods of recording and analysis based on the use of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) photography, video and infrared imaging. The project was funded by a Qatar National Priorities Research Grant (NPRP). This collaboration subsequently expanded into the integration of interactive and immersive technologies to examine the shifting the roles of viewer and participant in the perception and experience of built cultural heritage. In 2014, we produced an exhibition, entitled ‘Lines in the Sand’ examining and exploring various levels of engagement in Qatar’s built heritage through a series of interactive technologies. These seven projects incorporated gesture, game and augmented reality. The exhibition took place in the VCU Qatar Gallery. Through visualization and    interaction enabled through emergent technologies, we are able to engage and understand Qatar’s the urban spaces of the past. The result of which produced insights into Qatar’s cultural identity within the interconnected global landscape. This paper will present the research findings to date generated from both Visualizing Qatar’s Past and the exhibition Lines in the Sand as well as the trajectory of continued development of the project.