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.
In 2004, at the invitation of Qatar Foundation, Carnegie Mellon joined the Education City project. The college is located on a site crossed by one of the main pedestrian promenades of the master plan (Green Spine) and has been developed as a rectangular building along the north side, a semi-circular building on the south side, and an atrium in the centre which connects to the Green Spine. Public service areas like the food court, library and lounges are in direct relation with the central atrium. The buildings were designed as a series of volumes, separated from each other by outdoor courtyards.