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The Qatar Foundation has selected architect Antoine Predock to design the facility for Northwestern’s campus in Qatar.

Predock is based in Albuquerque, N.M., with studios in Taipei and Los Angeles. He has previously designed buildings including the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, the Tacoma Art Museum and the San Diego Padres ballpark.

Richard Roth, senior associate dean of journalism in Qatar, and three other NU-Q faculty members will soon accompany Predock on a trip around the U.S. to look at other journalism facilities, Roth said. They will first visit the NU campus in Evanston on February 10.

About two months after returning, Predock is scheduled to create three possible designs for the NU-Q building. The construction process will likely begin in spring 2009, and it will take three to four years until the building is complete and ready for use, Roth said.

Medill School of Journalism Dean John Lavine described Predock as “one of the world’s great architects,” and compared him to Frank Gehry, who designed the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park.

Once the building is complete, each of the six American schools in Education City will have its own building. The Qatar Foundation supplies the funding for construction and operating costs of all the American schools in Education City, said NU provost Daniel Linzer.

“We could not have undertaken that if it would have diluted our resources here,” Linzer said.

The NU-Q program is temporarily housed in Texas A&M’s building but will move to Carnegie Mellon over the summer and will remain there until the NU building is complete, Roth said.

NU-Q’s building will need the tools to teach audio, video and text skills in 2013 and beyond, Lavine said, adding that this creates “fascinating challenges.”

NU-Q Dean John Margolis declined to comment for this article.

Roth described the vision for the building as “state-of-the-art and futuristic,” accommodating the needs of both the School of Communication and Medill. The building will be about 250,000 square feet, compared to the 47,000 square foot McCormick Tribune Center, Roth said.

A main feature of the building is that it will house four studios, two each for communication and journalism classes. The building will also include large student atrium spaces.

Linzer will next visit the Qatar campus during spring break, he said. The campus has faced a few difficulties in its first year, such as securing health care for students and finding spots in local elementary schools for children of NU professors. Still, the campus has been a “remarkable set-up success,” he said.

Both Linzer and Lavine mentioned the future possibility of offering study abroad programs for Evanston campus students in Qatar and vice versa. Linzer said this might be possible in two years.

NU’s progress in Qatar is further along than originally planned, “bumpiness notwithstanding,” Lavine said.

“The goal is to make a freer press more of a reality in the Middle East,” he said. “Qatar is a very special place to do that.”

Once constructed, the new building will be beneficial for the NU-Q program and just one of many additions to the ever-changing landscape of Qatar, Roth said.

“We’ll finally be putting our roots down and saying, ‘We’re here,’” he said. “We’re part of this birth of a city.”


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