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.
The Texas A&M Engineering College lies within Doha’s Education City and consists of two main buildings, the Academic Quadrangle and Research Octagon, connected by an atrium. In response to the climate, the buildings’ exterior shading elements are oriented for maximum effect, and some facades have a double skin to minimise heat entering through the wall, while others have insulating glass to block UV radiation. Skylights have high performing glass and external and internal louvers to allow natural light but avoid inefficient heat gain. The public spaces are designed as informal meeting places for faculty and students with bridges, arcades, courtyards, fountains and vegetation to create welcoming spaces for interaction and movement around the campus.