Northwestern dedicates new building on Doha campus
Seven thousand miles from its home campus in Evanston, Illinois, USA, Northwestern University dedicated its new state-of-the-art media and communication building on its campus in Qatar.
Under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of the Qatar Foundation and visionary behind Education City, Northwestern President Morton Schapiro and Dean Everette E. Dennis spoke at a series of events held in the new building.
Referencing his tour of NU-Q’s new building, President Schapiro said: “This is everything you can dream about.”
He added: “As President of Northwestern, I can tell you, nothing makes me prouder than to have a campus here in Doha producing graduates who are skilled in journalism, filmmaking, and communication and carry the name of our university far and wide as they use their skills for the betterment of mankind.”
Designed by American architect Antoine Predock, NU-Q’s LEED Gold certified building is designed to embody architectural elements from Qatar’s desert landscape and local culture. At 515,000 square feet, the NU-Q building is three times the size of its previous home and the largest institution of its kind anywhere in the world.
“Northwestern’s new building offers not just modern media teaching and production facilities unique to the region, but a platform for creativity that our students will use to experiment, create, and dream,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO. “Educating our students to harness the power of the digital age, will enable them to act as instruments of positive social change and make a significant impact on their societies.”
At the dedication ceremony held at NU-Q, President Schapiro and Dean Dennis presented a gift to Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser in recognition of her leadership in the creation of Education City and the role of Northwestern University within that vision. The gift, Painting for Doha, was commissioned from Judy Ledgerwood, a professor of art at Northwestern University. Ledgerwood is known for her monumental abstractions and powerful use of color, pattern, and scale.
Northwestern held a symposium on May 1 discussing the new campus and its opportunities. Pictured left to right: Craig LaMay, associate professor, Northwestern University; Derek Thomspon, author and senior editor at The Atlantic; Ismaeel Naar, online journalist, Al Arabiya; Ibrahim Al Hashmi; and Najwa Al Thani, researcher, National Human Rights Committee Qatar.
Everette E. Dennis, dean & CEO of NU-Q, gave opening remarks at the dedication ceremony celebrating the new Northwestern building in Doha's Education City.
Architect Antoine Predock designed the new Northwestern University in Qatar building, drawing inspiration from the desert landscape and local culture.
A new NU-Q
Inspired by the country’s landscape and local culture, the intricate designs in the building speak to the majesty of the desert, with the structure designed to integrate perfectly with it.
The building includes an events hall, which is also the largest sound-stage in the region; a projection theater, which features a 4K cinema and 7.1 Dolby surround sound; three production studios, each fitted out to serve a specific purpose; and a studio that has been designed to allow students to reproduce everyday sound effects that are added to film, video, and other multimedia projects; and a 4K mastering room, which is equipped to completely edit a digital cinema-quality film.
On the outside of the building, overlooking the main entrance is a large LED media-mesh screen – the Saif Tip. Saif means sword in Arabic and the location of the screen resembles two swords about to meet. In addition, inside the building, there will be a three-story media wall with multiple screens that will work with the Saif Tip in providing information through videos and images.
Within the building is a newsroom, which is scheduled to be completed over the summer. It will feature the most advanced technology in broadcast and production. Designed by Beirut architect Ali Wazani, the space includes all of the components of major broadcast news studio – a news desk, an area for panel discussions, and a social media screen. Using a feed from live newswires, students will have access to information to transform into stories, graphics, and other digital visualization elements. It will have its own control room, with the ability to produce live reports across multiple platforms.
Explore our new space:
Forum: The Forum is a central fixture of the NU-Q building. The space, surrounded by four-story tall windows, contains a cafe with lounge seating for meet-ups and study breaks.
The Newsroom: NU-Q’s fully-automated newsroom features some of the most advanced technology in broadcast and production. Designed by Beirut architect Ali Wazani, the space allows students to work in all components of news production. Using a feed from live newswires, students are able to gather information and transform it into stories, graphics, and other digital visualization elements.
The automated newsroom, which is the first of its kind in Qatar, and unique in the region, enables one person to run the entire show. The modular design of the newsroom allows students to produce a variety of programs using the available set, which can be converted to include talk shows, a panel on social media feeds, a modern news desk, and an interactive video wall. The newsroom includes its own control room and an edit suite to produce graphics and render audio, as well as the ability to produce live reports across multiple platforms.
The Media Majlis at Northwestern University in Qatar: This museum, scheduled to open in the autumn of 2018, will explore and examine media, journalism, and communication—pasts, presents, and futures—through global, regional, and local/Qatar lenses. This new type of museum will be an active space, bringing people together to engage with exhibitions and programs challenging standard narratives, where stories and ideas are discussed with audiences.
As the first university museum in Qatar, The Media Majlis will feature exhibitions questioning, exploring, and discussing stories and objects that provide 360° perspectives of deep multi-faceted subjects. Exhibitions aim to introduce and facilitate exploration of topics to equip audiences to examine the media world and actively engage with it, empowering audiences with a greater understanding and ability to interrogate the media and journalism surrounding them. Featuring extensive digital capacity exhibitions will encourage visitor participation, comment, and engagement with rich stories, lesser heard voices, and the people who have and are creating our media world in the region and globally.
Exhibitions will be accompanied by diverse programming and learning experiences for audiences, including publications, screenings, talks, tours, and other resources.
Saif Tip and Media Wall: On the outside of the building, overlooking the main entrance, is a large LED media-mesh screen – the Saif Tip. Saif means sword in Arabic, and the location of the screen resembles two swords about to meet. In addition, inside the building there will be a three-story video wall with multiple screens that will work with the Saif Tip in providing information through videos and images.
Library: Located in the heart of NU-Q’s new building is a two-story library overlooking Oxygen Park. It is designed to be the hub of the building for studying and researching. In addition to online reserves, and access to Northwestern libraries, NU-Q offers a wide range of books, resources, films, and publications.
Black Box: The Black Box is a large multipurpose space for students to produce videos and plays. It includes a separate set design and construction room, which will be accessible next semester. The studio is rigged with lighting equipment and special audio-cancellation and flooring.
Auditorium: The auditorium, which fits 150 people, features a large HD projector and can be used to record and stream live events.
Projection Theater: Another impressive technological feature in the building is the cinema and surround-sound system that is available in the Projection Theater. The theater, which features a 4K cinema and 7.1 Dolby surround system, is an ideal space for film and multimedia project screening. The room is also equipped with automated cameras to record and stream events.
Events Hall: The Hall is the largest sound-stage in the region and will be used to host large-scale events, including graduation.
Studios A, B, C: NU-Q’s building is also home to three production studios, each fitted out to serve a specific purpose. Studio A is a black box studio, which can be repurposed depending on the occasion. Studio B features a sit-com style build for students to produce films, and learn about the ways of directing on set. Studio C features a fixed cyc green screen for animation, and a photography corner.
Audio Edit Suite and Foley Studio: NU-Q’s audio edit suite is decked out with Avid S6, which is a fully professional audio-mixing console, used by professionals in the industry. The Foley Studio has been designed to allow students to reproduce everyday sound effects that are added to film, video, and other multimedia projects.
4K Director’s Viewing Room: A 30-seater 4K cinema room is designed to screen and finalize high-resolution films, available for students to master their film projects. It has equipment that will allow students and faculty to completely edit a digital cinema-quality film.
Labs: The building includes a number of media lab spaces.
- Two 24-seater computer labs with iMac 5K retina display
- Nine 4K editing suites
- 3-D animation lab, featuring its own render farm
Earlier in the day, Northwestern hosted a symposium – Shaping Our Future – which featured a series of conversations, discussion panels, and a showcase of student research, short films, and documentaries.
“A New Home for Northwestern in Qatar: A Conversation with Antoine Predock” was moderated by Dean Dennis. It was an opportunity for the NU-Q community to learn more about Predock’s vision and inspiration in designing the school’s new home
In “Pushing the Boundaries: Making the Building Work for Us,” Banu Akdenizli, associate professor at NU-Q, led a panel discussion on the potential and capabilities of the building for students and faculty. Rawda Al Thani, an NU-Q alum and film programming assistant at the Doha Film Institute, joined the Director of NU-Q’s Communication Program, Scott Curtis,and NU-Q’s Director of Production and Digital Media Services Geoff Cannaby.
Craig LaMay, associate professor in the Journalism and Strategic Communication Program at NU-Q, led the third session “NU-QF Partnership: Fostering Freedom and Respecting Cultures.” The session featured Northwestern alumni and NU-Q Class of 2017’s graduation speaker, Derek Thomspon, a best-selling author and senior editor at The Atlantic, along with NU-Q alums Ismaeel Naar, online journalist and shift editor at Al Arabiya news channel; Najwa Al Thani, researcher in international cooperation at the National Human Rights Committee Qatar; and Ibrahim Al Hashmi.
Our new home
Learn more about the new Northwestern University in Qatar campus in Education City.