Located on a site in Doha dubbed “Education City”, the innovative design proposal for the Qatar Foundation (QF) Expansion Building provides a signature facility that bridges the past, present, and future of Qatar.
The building itself is conceived as a series of wings attached to a central spine. Courtyards separate each of the wings to allow for the maximum penetration of controlled daylight into the office spaces. Column-free interior spaces allow for movable partitions and modular furniture to be assembled in different variations within the space. A generous park surrounds the building, providing the ideal setting for a world-class outdoor sculpture collection.
Built out of white concrete and glass, the south façade and the wraparound roof on the north side of the building were inspired by the geometry of the square Kufic, a uniquely Muslim tradition developed hundreds of years ago to add calligraphic ornament to buildings.
Two large-scale sustainable concepts inform the design of the QF Expansion Building. First is the desire to bring controlled natural light into each office space without unduly increasing the solar heat gain of the building. Office and circulation spaces are located near exterior glazing shielded by perforated aluminum louvers whose angle can be adjusted to maximize the penetration of reflected light while minimizing heat infiltration. Second, the design incorporates wind towers and air-earth tunnels to provide passive assistance to the cooling of the building. The wind towers funnel prevailing breezes to underground ducts, which pre-cool the outside air via the natural heat-sink properties of the earth.
Additional reduction of energy consumption is achieved by the installation of solar panels on the roof, capable of supplying up to 25% of the onsite energy usage. In addition, landscaping and toilets will use recycled gray water to reduce the use of potable water.