Feb 01 2009

Qatar: Education City's window to the future

DOHA: The Doha campuses of at least two prestigious American universities will soon have state-of-the-art futuristic buildings in the Education City.

Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service-Qatar (SFS-Q) campus is prepared to move from its shared-building into a nearly 400,000-square-foot facility of its own. The building, scheduled to open in fall 2010, will include classrooms, offices, a library and other facilities for more than 200 undergraduate and graduate students.

The Northwestern University-Qatar (NU-Q) will also get a new building. An estimated 250,000 square feet building is expected to be completed by 2013. The NU-Q programme is temporarily housed in Texas A&M's building but will move to Carnegie Mellon over the summer and will remain there until the new building is complete, it is learnt.

The new buildings of SFS-Q and NU-Q are designed by internationally-acclaimed architects. The SFS-Q building is designed by architectural firm Legoretta and Legoretta. The Mexico City-based firm is also credited with the designing of three other buildings in the Education City including the College of Business and Computer Science, Texas A&M Engineering College and the Students Centre.

The Georgetown building will be the first civil construction project in the Education City to integrate requirements for safety into all aspects of the project. The Qatar Foundation is working with the San Francisco-based URS, an engineering and technical services company that specialises in construction safety, to meet international safety standards.

When the Qatar campus welcomed its first students in 2005, there were 25 undergraduates. Now, SFS-Q has nearly 150 students representing 28 different countries. The Georgetown will hold ceremonies for its first graduating class at the Qatar campus this May.

The Qatar Foundation has selected renowned architect Antoine Predock to design the NU-Q building, is learnt. Based in Albuquerque, with studios in Taipei and Los Angeles, Predock is noted for designing international landmarks such as the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, the Tacoma Art Museum and the San Diego Padres ballpark.

Predock, who is expected to visit the NU's main campus and many other journalism schools in the US, will create three possible designs for the NU-Q building. The construction process will likely begin this spring, and it will take three to four years to complete the project. A main feature of the building is that it will house four studios, two each for communication and journalism classes. The building will also include large student atrium spaces.

By Satish Kanady

© The Peninsula 2009

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