New UAE College, Abu Dhabi, UAE

The Client’s program requires nineteen classrooms and ten laboratories to provide teaching and learning accommodation for 500 students. These will be supported and enhanced by ancillary facilities which will include the provision of a library, e-learning systems, research centers and interactive meeting rooms. In order to encompass these requirements, a courtyard is developed into a grand series of steps combining vertical access with tiered study areas. As the central common path, the courtyard offers linkage between levels, creating a smooth flow between spaces. It also significantly enhances the internal environment by ordering volumetric spatial voids to create a procession of these spaces, taking an individual from the entrance to the central atrium, then finally to the upper atrium which opens out to the main façade. Floating interactive meeting rooms are designed as pods which are cantilevered into the void of the atrium. This creative design response is intended as the aesthetic visual highlight of the development. The pods function as a dynamically designed enhancer of space which offers a visually dramatic, random juxtaposition to the formality of the rectilinear opening.