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Posted On: 4 July 2009 08:22 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

World-class meeting hub by 2011

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The unique Sidra tree-themed Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) is slated to come up according to schedule with groundwork for the second stage of construction starting and the QNCC team hiring executives for the operations of the meeting hub. Designed by renowned Japanese architect, Arata Isozaki, the convention centre in Education City spread over 177,000 square metre, will offer 40,000 square metre of exhibition space in nine halls including a conference facility that will seat 4,000 people. It will include a 2,300-seat lyric-style theatre, three-tier auditoria complemented by 57 meeting rooms capable of accommodating the full range of events. The convention centre is slated to open in April 2011. Sue Hockings, QNCC’s Director of Sales, said the building will be fully enclosed by the end of summer. The second phase of the construction process includes the exhibition halls spread over 35,000 square metres. Hockings said the façade of the building has been made to look like the Sidra tree, important to the Bedouins. “They say Bedouins would sit in the shade of the Sidra tree and talk… This convention centre will bring together thousands of people under its roof. Cathy Neagle has been recently appointed as the Director of Operations of the facility. “We will develop a benchmark for centre operations that will position QNCC as a market leader in the region and make it a destination of choice,” Neagle said. Detlef Haupt has also been appointed as the Director of Kitchens, and Jeremy Hagenbach as Director of Food and Beverage. They will join QNCC’s Executive team in the next few months. “Once you have catered for 13,500 people like we did for Amway China, or prepared a seven-course vegetarian menu (without garlic or onion) for 3,200 monks as we did for the opening of the NanTien Temple, the opportunity to be part of the amazing development in Qatar was one I did not want to miss,” said Haupt. The new members of the QNCC team have served some of the world’s leaders including the 14th Dalai Lama, the Queen of England, Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, Prince Albert of Monaco, former US president Bill Clinton, and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, among others. The Centre, Hockings said, is the first of its kind convention and exhibition facility being built to the premium standard of an internationally recognised green building-rating system. The facility is going for gold in the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. “For example, to capitalise on Doha’s abundant sunshine, over 3,600 square metres of solar panels on the Centre’s roof will produce 12.5 percent of our total energy requirements,” said Paul D’Arcy, QNCC General Manager. As the world’s first high-performance green convention centre, it will have state-of-the-art systems for water conservation, energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality. Hockings said they had combined cutting-edge design, functionality and sustainability to meet the complex needs of meeting planners, exhibitors and visitors. “In terms of its environmentally sustainable construction, the venue is on course to achieve a Gold Standard under the LEED Green Building Rating System. To the best of our knowledge it is the first such venue of this nature to achieve such a standard in its entirety,” said Paul D’Arcy, QNCC general manager. Hockings said the convention centre would have the first curved escalators in the Middle East and will include an air-conditioned walkway from the car park to the entrance of the building, a wireless conference management system, 108-inch (minimum) LCD screens in all meeting rooms, LED lighting for the exhibition halls (no metal halide lamps), full-colour LED lighting in Exhibition Hall 6 (designed for banqueting), 35,000 square metres of modular mobile rigging grids within the exhibition halls, 100 percent fibre optic connections for all service pits in the exhibition halls, two interactive LCD screens for public use, each measuring five metres by two metres, and 3,676 square metres of solar panels that occupy 7,080 square metres of roof area to meet 12.5 percent of the building’s total electrical requirements. The World Petroleum Council, one of the energy industry’s most prestigious events, will be held in QNCC’s opening year. “It will be a grand opening in 2011… Everyone will know that we are here,” said Hockings, who has been here for nine months. Hockings said the QNCC, which is under the umbrella of Qatar Foundation, was built because the Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and H H Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned recognised a need for it. “The vision of Qatar is to create an economy away from petroleum, so now they have education, science and research, and along that, they recognised there is a need to create a convention centre to create exposure for meetings and tourism… this convention centre will help create a destination,” said Hockings. She said the convention centre could accommodate whatever event one could think of, from a gala dinner, product launch or theatre performance to weddings. “With the completion of this stunning architectural masterpiece, Qatar is destined to be known as the world’s most prestigious destination for conferences and exhibitions,” she said.