Monday, January 14, 2008

Keep 'em comin' - largest convention center in the Middle East to open in Doha

I went to a presentation today describing the new Convention Center that is under construction as part of the Education City complex. It was pretty amazing, as all things here seem to be. This Convention Center will be the largest in the Middle East and the hope is that it will attract small to moderately large conventions. The design reflects the sidra tree which is a desert shrub that served as shelter for Bedoins from the burning sun. The sidra shelters the conversation between friends and colleagues as they interact in an otherwise severe climate.

The Convention Center is on a perpendicular axis with the academic buildings of Education City and sets up a spectacular vista across the oasis from the Ceremonial Court to the Convention Center and then the business and research center. All of this places the practice of business, science, and medicine in direct interaction with the academic experiences of students. When I think about the design that is coming to fruition, I have trouble imagining the kind of creativity that could dream such grand ideas. It is simply too good to be true. We talk theoretically about praxis in education departments but Qatar Foundation is including it in their architectural and landscape design!

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