QIFF 2019 is well underway, with thousands enjoying the gourmet delights on offer. If you plan to go and visit the festival, why not take the free tour offered by Doha Bus? These free rides will take you on an extended tour of Education City, affording you a relaxed opportunity to see some amazing architecture, and learn more about this vibrant community.
Education City is part of Qatar Foundation (QF), a non-profit organisation that endeavours to support Qatar by unlocking human potential. It is home to a range of educational, research, and recreational facilities, providing a holistic experience to all community members, and is four times the size of Central Park in New York.
Japanese architect Arata Isozaki was the first to be involved in the EC masterplan, designing the iconic Qatar National Convention Centre and a number of educational buildings, which you will see as we progress along the tour.
With so much to see, let’s get started with our first sight on the tour:
Al Shaqab – Horses have occupied a fond place in the heart of Qataris for a long time, with a particular love affair with Arabian horses, who were accustomed to the harsh climate of the desert. HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, The Father Amir established Al Shaqab in 1992 – the name has historical significance for the people of Qatar, as it takes its name from a historic battle against the Ottomans. Al Shaqab has a unique horseshoe design and is home to a lake and fields, providing stabling for 400 horses within an area of approximately 1 mn square metres. It is the region’s premier equestrian facility and home to three world champion stallions: Gazal Al Shaqab, Al Adeed Al Shaqab, and Marwan Al Shaqab.
EC Golf Club – designed by two-time US Masters winner and 2012 Ryder Cup winning captain Jose Maria Olazabal, this 120-hectare facility recently opened its doors to the public, who can now enjoy a golfing experience like no other.
Chef’s Garden – a family friendly restaurant open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Set within the grounds of the Marwan Club, diners can partake of healthy food both inside and out, while kids will find there are plenty of activities to keep them occupied.
Education City Stadium – The state-of-the-art Education City Stadium is the fourth stadium being built for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with a capacity for 40,000 fans. The façade is characterised by triangles that form complex geometrical patterns, which appear to change colour as the sun arcs across the sky. You will be able to see the progress being made as you go past on the bus.
Western Green Spine – Skate Park and Sport Pitches – The Skate Park features an exciting range of ramps, rails, and bowls, and is tailored for skateboarders. There are also other sports pitches that are open for the public to use.
Awsaj Academy – Awsaj Academy is dedicated to working with students with learning challenges. Teaching is in English in subjects including maths, science, Islamic studies, art and physical education. It also has an outreach centre and offers professional development services to the community.
Qatar Academy – Qatar Foundation makes every effort to provide a global education for students and empower citizens at every stage of their academic career to contribute to the future of the country. The first brick laid was at Qatar Academy, which opened in 1996. It was established to provide a comprehensive school education from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Qatar Academy is devoted to delivering the highest standards of academic excellence and this esteemed high school is the first step towards preparing students for university.
Canvus – Canvus is host to VCUarts Qatar, which is the Qatar campus of Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond, Virginia. Established in 1998 through a partnership with Qatar Foundation, VCUQatar was the first campus established in Education City, and today offers courses in fashion design, fine arts, graphic design, and art history, and hosts major international events in art and design.
Penrose House – On the right is Penrose House, which hosts Hamad bin Khalifa University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and College of Science and Engineering, along with Qatar Academy for Science and Technology and the Academic Bridge Program, which support students’ academic accomplishment and their transition from high school to higher education. Designed by Arata Isozaki, the building is formed as a massive introverted rectangular structure, with minimal openings to provide protection from the extreme heat. It has six full-height courtyards, which accommodate ventilation towers. Islamic Arabesque patterns are used on the screening elements. The backs of the panels are painted yellow, and the colour is reflected when lit at night, changing the expression of the architecture.
2015 Building – 2015 building is home to the Qatar Foundation Headquarters and is the tallest building in Education City. The building is named ‘2015’ to mark a milestone year in Qatar Foundation’s history, when it not only celebrated two decades of working towards its vision, but also opened its new headquarters to bring together various QF departments and branches under one roof.
Qatar National Convention Centre – QNCC provides an environment that nurtures inspiration and excellence, and it is one of the largest and most technologically advanced venues in the Middle East. The building hosts ‘Maman’, the world-famous spider sculpture created by Louise Bourgeois and gifted by Qatar Museums. Maman both serves as a conversation piece and an easy meeting point.
Medbay – On our right is Medbay, which hosts Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar. It was founded in 2011, and is part of Cornell University, the prestigious Ivy League college established in 1865 in Ithaca, New York. The university is the first-ever American medical school to be established overseas. Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar works with clinical partners such as Hamad Medical Corporation and Aspetar Orthopaedics.
Biznest – Next to Medbay you can see Biznest, which hosts Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. The university joined Education City in 2004 and offers an opportunity to study courses in Biological Sciences, Business Administration, Computational Biology, Computer Science, and Information Systems.
Manufactury – After Biznest you can see Manufactury, which hosts Texas A&M University at Qatar, a pioneering US engineering university established in 2003, offering undergraduate degrees in Chemical, Electrical, Mechanical, and Petroleum Engineering and a graduate degree in Chemical Engineering.
Qatar National Library – Qatar National Library promotes innovation while preserving the culture and traditions of the nation. Qatar National Library, which you can see on your right, was designed by renowned architect Rem Koolhaas. The vast building, which has an area of 45,000 square metres, inspires visitors to explore the evolution of knowledge from past to present. Qatar National Library contains a wide variety of print and electronic books in English and in Arabic, and which are available to all citizens and residents of Qatar.
Humanitarium – On the right is Humanitarium, which hosts Georgetown University in Qatar, which joined Education City in 2005. In the same building is UCL Qatar, a branch campus of University College London. It was the first British university to have a campus in Qatar, and welcomed its first intake of students in 2012, providing a centre of excellence for the study of cultural heritage.
Pressdock – On your right, you can now see Pressdock, the home for Northwestern University in Qatar, which offers undergraduate degrees in journalism and communications. It was founded in 2008. Designed by Antoine Predock, the building has design elements inspired by the seif, which is the Arabic word for sword or dagger. The external cladding of the building is predominantly limestone, giving a timeless feeling that contrasts and augments the digital wonders inside.
Minaretein – At the eastern edge of the city is a distinctive addition to the beauty of Doha, Minaretein, now on your right. The building hosts Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s College of Islamic Studies and College of Law and Public Policy, and features the Education City Mosque. The project was envisaged as a reinterpretation of a mosque, a source of knowledge, as well as a place of worship. Two towers representing minarets rise parallel to each other and at an angle from the main structure. The minarets point toward Makkah, and are adorned with Arabic calligraphy. The building is designed to look like two intertwined ribbons, representing light and knowledge.
Oxygen Park – Oxygen Park is an impressively designed and landscaped open space that incorporates sports, recreation, and heritage in a relatively cool environment. The park is suitable for all ages, and can be enjoyed by people looking for a place to kick a ball around or take a leisurely walk. The covered children’s playground features undulating mounds that kids can scale to reach the various play equipment. Concrete seating and grassy banks around the area are ideal for picnics in the cooler months. The adjacent amphitheatre includes stepped water fountains for splashing around in, and the paths running in and around the various gardens provide more than enough adventure for young children.
We hope you have enjoyed this tour around the magnificent Education City complex. Make sure you visit the QF website at qf.org.qa and also their social media channels to keep up to date with all that is happening in Education City.
Pick up point for the Doha Bus tour is at Multaqa (student centre) between 5 pm and 8 pm. The bus runs every 15 minutes and the tour lasts approximately 30 minutes.
Information provided by Qatar Foundation.
Author: Sarah Palmer
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