International Student Life & Housing Facility

Client: Qatar Foundation
Completion Date: 2009
Location: Doha, Qatar


Burns & McDonnell provided architectural, engineering and security design services for two 600-student housing campuses for the Qatar Foundation at Education City in Doha, Qatar.

Security features include full building security controlled by remote Internet access and radio-frequency identification (RFID) card readers equipped with 4-gigabyte chips for access into buildings.

The central security feature is the integrated command center that integrates the closed-circuit television (CCTV), access controls, fire and safety controls, and HVAC controls into one video display. The video display is a 4-foot by 3-foot video that incorporates smart technology to correlate events from each system into one common operational picture. Multiple levels of security were implemented from student common areas to multi-factor authentication and biometrics for high-security areas.


The focus of this project is to incorporate local culture with modern technology to create a unique, world-class facility for the students of Education City. Inspiration for the design was the traditional Islamic village, which consists of five neighborhoods joined by a village street leading to a central plaza, the heart of the community.

This project uses cutting-edge technology to provide an enhanced learning experience for the students and innovative construction methodology to meet an aggressive client schedule for completion. One distinct feature is the advanced technology available to students. “Smart room” technology will allow them to establish personal settings for room temperature, lighting and MP3 capabilities upon entering. A wall-mounted LCD panel in each room will allow students to work anywhere in the room from a wireless keyboard and mouse.

The design achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first student housing facility in the world certified LEED Platinum. One campus is for female students, the other for male students. Each 400,000-square-foot campus consists of two 150-bed residence halls, three 100-bed apartment buildings and a residential community center.


Security Design Services

Performed security services for the male and female student housing complex at Education City in Doha, Qatar. Designed security solutions in conjunction with lighting, electrical, HVAC, mechanical engineering for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Platinum project.

Network Convergence

Design for a secure network and building control system to extract data from the various building control systems campuswide and display the results on a video display system. The convergence of the building control systems provides full interoperability with the campus security system providing facility operators and security personnel with real time information for event correlation and analysis during critical events.

Access Control System

The access control system is one of the most important systems for this client. The security implementation is a three-factor biometric authentication utilizing radio frequency identification (RFID) and video analytics in sensitive areas. The biometric device is used in a speed-gate configuration that utilizes the RFID-based authentication to identify a person and an infrared palm-vein scanner and a personal identification number (PIN) to authenticate personnel for access into required areas. This access control system also includes energy-saving features such as turning off lights and reducing air-conditioning requirements in unoccupied buildings or areas through the converged network system.

Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV)

The CCTV system includes state-of-the-art video analytics for event detection and facial recognition. The CCTV system covers all access points and security fencing and utilizes IPTV-based technology to transport video and control information throughout the network. The network video recorder has provisions for immediate playback at various control centers throughout Education City.

Structure Hardening

Performed a security engineering of the buildings' structural integrity for potential weaknesses that may be exploited by terrorists. Designed a secure parking facility with control gates and bollards to prevent unauthorized building approach. Designed large truck ramps for stand-off to minimize blast effects. Designed blast-resistant student centers to provide maximum natural lighting and maximum protection from flying glass and debris.