Hamad Bin Khalifa University
Legorreta + Legorreta Architects
Traditionally considered the “living room” of a campus, student centers serve as the hub for both formal and informal interaction among students, faculty and stuff.
The Hamad Bin Khalifa University Student Centre’s services include health care, counselling, housing and recreational facilities interlinked by communal spaces. The designers, inspired by traditional souks and courtyards providing shelter from the exterior, discovered many resemblances between Arab and Mexican architecture. The concrete building with thick sandstone-lined walls provides good insulation to the climate. The sports hall is a steel structure. East- and west-orientated windows shaded with lattice and closed south elevations help avoid solar gain. Heat pipes, sensors and irrigation features are amongst integrated climatic controls. The ‘Helix’ courtyard is a sculpture garden at the heart of the building, designed by artist Jan Hendrix, featuring water jets and 200 individual aluminium plates, creating a breathtaking organic pattern and contemplative courtyard. The local culture of majlis – the traditional gathering place outside of home for meaningful conversations – has also been incorporated in the design by placing seating areas at the natural intersections of the building.
Legorreta + Legorreta statement for the building:
“This is a project that will provide a home away from home for all Education City students. It should provide a vibrant environment promoting social and cultural interaction. This multifunctional building will offer diverse services to students in areas such as student health care, student counseling services, financial aid and housing, as well as recreational spaces and ambitious integral complementary programs such as culture and sports. The main purpose of this urban node is to provide a familiar and relaxing environment where the students will be working together with people from all over the world.”