Client: State of Qatar
Working with Aedas Architects, OOBE developed a groundbreaking blue print to inform the design of schools in Qatar during the next two decades. The school design reflects the faith and cultural requirements of a modernising Islamic nation and the core necessity to adapt technology and science to achieve the aims of the National Food Security Program (NFSP). The design concept is simple, yet evocative inspired by the principles of an Arabian house with its simple, controlled outer and exquisite inner courtyard. The simple external landscape setting contrasts with the spectacular biodome found at the heart of the building representing the Environmental Pillar which underpins all the other pillars of development formed by the learning zones wrapped around it. Planting emphasises this contrast - externally it is formal and ordered to soften boundaries, create shade and frame the building; internally tropical planting provides a riot of colour, scent and forms. The biodome is a space for research and experimentation and supports directly the aspirations of the NFSP and showcases the principles of Hydroponics, Aquaponics and Aeroponics as a means of sustainable food production.
A simple palette of hard materials has been selected to ensure a calming and tranquil setting that complements the building. The blossom of the Sidra tree, an iconic symbol of Qatari heritage and culture, has inspired the central form of the design, from the core of the vertical farm, bespoke benches and canopies and a shallow water feature from which a water rill or falaj directs pedestrians towards the main entrance, terminating in a grand water cascade within the biosphere. The biodome, the living, breathing heart of the building, as with the Sidra tree, represents nourishment as well as learning and growth and forms a truly unique architectural structure.