Qatar Foundation: Future Schools

Designs for two pioneering schools in Doha

In 2017 Walters & Cohen was invited to take part in a competition to design two schools in Doha for the Qatar Foundation. The competition brought together some of the most prominent education architects in the world and we were very proud to be considered alongside them.

The brief was to design two interlinking schools in Education City: a K-12 (kindergarten to 12th grade) school and the innovative Qatar Academy of Science and Technology. Located in the shadow of the 2022 World Cup Stadium, our schools were designed to reflect Qatari culture and the Qatar Foundation’s forward-looking, ambitious vision for the project.

The K-12 school is laid out as a ‘tree of learning’: the trunk is the main circulation spine and the branches are the learning clusters, each of which lead to a covered area for outdoor learning. The layering of internal spaces is crucial to the design: the homebases for the different year groups are located in the clusters, opening onto resource spaces that support group and informal activities. Comfortable furniture and appealing spaces encourage people to linger and socialise.

Linked by tunnel is the Qatar Academy of Science and Technology. Envisaged as a ‘barn for learning’, it is organised as a series of internal terraces with excellent visibility and connectivity – the whole school can be experienced from the entrance on the highest level. We had already designed STEM facilities but this competition allowed us to explore the concept further in collaboration with an educationalist, understanding what needs to happen in the different spaces ­– design, exhibition, immersion, resources, specialist science and the makerspace – and strengthening the relationship between them.

Details

ClientQatar Foundation

CompletionCompetition 2017-2018

Area18,525 m2

Education, interior design and FF&E sub-consultantTerry White

LandscapeBHSL

Building servicesMax Fordham LLP

Cost consultantArcadis Qatar