Northwestern breaks ground on new building in Qatar

University’s new building to feature video production and radio studios, multimedia newsroom

Doha, QatarNovember 30, 2011 –Northwestern University in Qatar, the region’s premier media, communication and journalism school, celebrated the groundbreaking for its long anticipated new building on Tuesday morning in Education City.

The new facility, designed by renowned American architect Antoine Predock, will house a growing program with an emphasis on digital and global operations for communication, journalism and liberal arts programs and will have state-of-the-art multimedia studios, lecture halls, a theater, radio station, newsroom, library and exhibition space as well as the latest media technologies.

Members of the University’s Joint Advisory Board (JAB) as well as faculty, staff and students were on hand at the dedication.  NU-Q’s JAB includes HE Sheikha Hind Bint Hamad Al Thani, director of HH the Emir’s Office, and HE Dr. Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, president of Hamad bin Khalifa University and vice president for education at Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development; as well as officials from Northwestern University including William Osborn, chairman of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Daniel Linzer, provost, and Thomas Cline, vice president and general counsel.

“This new building will be a state-of-the-art facility for equipping future journalism and communication professionals to play their part in realizing the vision of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and of Qatar Foundation Chairperson Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. Both Qatar and the Arab region are changing rapidly and our populations need to be informed about and involved in these processes so that our societies are both participative and sustainable. As a core partner of Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Northwestern University in Qatar is making a substantial contribution to the region’s development,” stated H.E. Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani in advance of the groundbreaking.

Chairman William Osborn said, “Antoine Predock is an architect of great distinction who studied the desert landscapes, sketched them and then offered us a distinctive building that will meld universal values in design with modernity, creating a platform for a 21st century school that aims to produce media and communications professionals for Qatar, this region and the world.”

“Today we begin the process of construction for a structure that is designed to think big, to guide its faculty and staff and students through a rapidly changing world where they will soon take their place as journalists, film makers, media and communications professionals and engaged and informed citizens,” added Chairman Osborn.

Also present were Senior Technical Manager Eng. Jassim Telefat from Qatar Foundation Capital Projects and Public Affairs Officer Ms. Carolyn S. Clark, who attended on behalf of the United States Embassy in Qatar.

The new 32,520-square meter building “will be among the most modern and well equipped in the world,” said Dr. Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO of NU-Q.  Plans for the structure, which will be located between Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar and the future Islamic Studies Centre, have been four years in the making. From its striking external façade—large limestone blocks rising skyward to resemble a natural desert formation—to its sweeping internal spaces replete with gardens and terraces, the building will be home to NU-Q’s media-centric instructional, production and research programs.

 Focusing on the instruction and research that will take place in the building, Provost Daniel Linzer said, “Here students will enter a world of classrooms, studios, control rooms and theaters all a platform for learning as they connect settled knowledge with new discoveries and learn to mold their skills into professional practice that will adapt to change.”

A special feature of the building will be an exhibition space for what will serve as a hub for understanding the past, present and future of communication and media, according to Dean Dennis.

“This museum space will introduce scholars and enthusiasts of world and Middle Eastern media to artifacts from the past as well as changing exhibits that capture the essence of current debates over media and their role,” he said.

The NU-Q building is scheduled for completion in 2014, and includes the following features:

  • Four video production studios
  • Two 150-person lecture halls
  • One black box theater
  • A two-studio radio station facility for teaching and broadcast activities
  • A multi-media newsroom
  • A library capable of housing 40,000 volumes
  • Office facilities for more than 50 faculty and 60 staff
  • A conference center for events and special programs
  • Student lounge and activity spaces

To view images of the new building design, visit http://www.qatar.northwestern.edu/about/our-campus/new-home.html