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.
This contemporary museum is inspired by the Islamic architectural principles of light, geometry and water. Built on reclaimed land off the coast of Doha, the island museum comprises a five-storey main building and an education centre with a courtyard in between. The main building is monolithic limestone apart from the glass curtain walling to the north, facing the Arabian Gulf. The plan form is a square surmounted by an octagon and then a circle, which is the dome above the atrium. The dome’s facets reflect sunlight from the oculus, a play of light enhanced by chandeliers. Fountains and mist gardens complete the traditional Islamic references.