Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar

Double-layered walls and roofs, aluminum louvers, wind towers, sky lights, and ceiling fabric - all make the medical college building in Qatar an energy-efficient building...

Cornell's commitment to green buildings reaches across the world with the newly constructed medical college building in Qatar. This ovoid shaped building is just two stories high but 218 yards long, which is the length of two football fields. State-of-the-art technology is employed in extensive laboratory space, lecture halls, and the electronic library. Architects combined traditional Arabic and Gulf practices with eco-architecture principles to design this modern structure.

The hot desert climate of the region influenced the design of the building in several ways. With summer temperatures reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, energy efficiency was a major factor influencing the design. A double wall protects the building from the extreme heat. The outer walls, made of glass fiber reinforced concrete panels, are designed to absorb heat. A three-foot gap separates this outer wall from the inner insulated wall.

The double-layered roof serves a similar purpose as the walls. Aluminum louvers are positioned 15 feet above concrete slabs, which allow space for the air conditioning plant and facilitates air circulation. The louvers also filter sun through small skylights before entering the main structure of the building. Across the ceiling, fabric further disperses light. The outer wall and the vertical aluminum louvers shade the few small windows, minimizing heat intake.

In the courtyards, three 80 foot tall wind towers, also called badgirs, are used to direct cool breezes inside the building. These structures were a traditional means of cooling houses in the Gulf.

Norma Haddad, Director of Public Affairs, comments, "Revolutionary in so many ways, the new building of the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar is a remarkable achievement, and an outstanding feature of the Qatar Foundation's Education City campus."