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 Student Centre’s services include health care, counselling, housing and recreational facilities interlinked by communal spaces. The designers, inspired by traditional souks and courtyards providing shelter from the exterior, discovered many resemblances between Arab and Mexican architecture. The concrete building with thick sandstone-lined walls provides good insulation to the climate. The sports hall is a steel structure. East- and west-orientated windows shaded with lattice and closed south elevations help avoid solar gain. Heat pipes, sensors and irrigation features are amongst integrated climatic controls. A sculpture garden, titled Helix, is designed by the artist Jan Hendrix and features countless water jets and aluminium panels.