Doha, the most populated city in the Qatar, grew out of, and now contains the Al Bidda neighborhood in the east. Mentions of Al Bidda date back to the 17th century, but it rose to prominence in the 19th century. Doha was officially established in 1820. It became the capital city in 1971 when Qatar became independent.
It quickly became one of the main financial centers of the region. In 1996 the Al Jazeera satellite networks were established in Doha. A year later Education City was established by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development. With an area of 14 square kilometers, the area houses educational facilities the serve students from school age through graduate school. Virginia Commonwelth University was the first of 8-10 foreign universities to establish branch campuses in Education City. It also houses a number of Qatari schools and research institutions.
Composed of polygons joined in plan, the main structure is a single storey, convoluted podium which wraps around two courtyards containing a lagoon and a crocodile pool. The lagoon, which has a café projecting into it, is fed by a waterfall cascading over an artificial rockscape constructed in sprayed concrete. Within and around the podium are the air-conditioned animal dens, keeper's service areas, grottoes for nocturnal and reptile exhibits, and a desert zoo area. The zoo, which is open to the public only after sunset, is designed with dramatic lighting effects to enhance viewing. A network of walkways and bridges allows close viewing of the wildlife while providing safety and security. Construction applied is reinforced concrete foundations and frame and suspended floor slabs. Floor slabs and external facades are faced in rubble masonry.