The capital city of Yemen, Sana'a is one of the oldest populated cities in the world. Historically, its strategic location has allowed it to control the movement of trading networks, governing access from the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean to the Red Sea ports. Sana'a has been a site rich in Islamic architectural history since the seventh century, when Islam was largely adopted in Yemen. Sana'a's architectural heritage is a culmination of influences and styles; containing elements of Umayyad, Rasulid, and Ottoman architecture. Particular to Sana'a is a vibrant tradition of vernacular architecture, known for its use of carved timber, stone, and stepped masonry in multi-level houses. The western city has historically been the site of palatial architecture, including the notable Ayyubid "Sultan's Garden." Other notable complexes include a number of caravanserais and public hammams. In 1974, legislation required that all new buildings be executed in accordance with the traditional Yemeni styles. In 1986, the old city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Much of the Old City has since been destroyed, as a result of bombings throughout 2015.
The concept takes into account the educational philosophy of the school. It is also in accordance with the precepts of the United Nations project in Yemen, which encouraged the use of local materials and building methods. The design, whilst being innovative, has resulted in a building that is Yemeni in character, and related to the locality, as well as to the cultural aspirations of the Yemeni people. A feature of Yemeni architecture, with coloured glass set in gypsum framing, is used in the school in the traditional manner as infilling to the arched openings over windows and doors.