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Facilities Update
Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) Officially Opens

The Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, officially opened on 4 December 2011. In support of the country’s transformation to a knowledge-based economy, Qatar Foundation has made significant achievements in building and developing capacity for creativity and critical thinking through research in education and science. The Qatar National Convention Centre advances these objectives as the new global hub for ideas and innovation.

With its state-of-the-art facilities, cutting edge technology and iconic design, the QNCC today is one of the most sophisticated convention and exhibition centers in the world. bThe project was given the go-ahead in 2004, with construction commencing two years later. Now, after five and a half years of construction and planning, the QNCC is ready to welcome the world. QNCC’s general manager, Adam Mather-Brown described the occasion as “exhilarating”.

“The QNCC is not just a meeting place, it’s a vision that has materialized from years of hard work and dedication involving many multi-skilled teams,” he said. Designed by renowned Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, the Centre boasts a stunning signature façade, a 250 metre long, curved steel tree structure reaching up to support the exterior canopy. The design of the building was inspired by the local Qatari icon, the Sidra tree, symbolizing Qatar Foundation’s three key pillars of education, science and research, and community development. The tree is a beacon of learning and comfort in the desert which traditionally provided shelter for scholars and poets to gather, and to exchange and share knowledge.

According to Engineer Saad Al Muhannadi, Qatar Foundation, vice president of Capital Projects and Facilities Management, “The opening of the QNCC will undoubtedly advance Qatar in the field of infrastructure and build human capacity on a global scale. The Centre’s guests, experiencing our unique atmosphere, will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and brainstorm together for the future of Qatar in the modern world.”

With a 2,300-seat lyric theatre, three auditoria, a multipurpose conference hall for 4,000 guests, 40,000 square metres exhibition space and 52 meeting rooms, the Centre could accommodate 27,000 people in the venue at one time. QNCC is the first of its kind built to the gold certification of the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED). Following the opening, the QNCC took center stage as it welcomed the much-anticipated 20th World Petroleum Congress (WPC) and its 5,000 delegates from 4 to 8 December 2011.

The 20th WPC is a triennial event organized under the umbrella of the World Petroleum Council and whose members represent 95 percent of the global oil and gas production. This was the first Congress to be hosted in the Middle East and the largest oil and gas gathering in the world. Immediately after the 20th WPC, the Centre prepared for the 4th United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Forum (UNAOC), which it hosted from 11 to 13 December 2011.

QNCC rounded off an exciting month with its first full-scale international theatrical production in the 2,300-seat theatre. An all-international cast for Shakespeare’s Richard III flew into Qatar, showcasing the title role played by Oscar-winning actor and Artistic Director of the Old Vic, Kevin Spacey. The production was directed by Academy Award-winner Sam Mendes. Qatar is the only Middle East destination included in the global tour.