Seven new schools in Abu Dhabi, designed by global architecture, urbanism and design practice Broadway Malyan for the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), representing half of the first phase of ADEC’s ‘model schools’ and providing 7,000 student places and 120,000 square metres of new floor space, are set to open to students this academic year. Director Ian Apsley said: “Delivery of the schools has depended on the world-class skills, expertise and experience of our diverse team of global public and private education sector experts, their understanding of the importance of local curriculum, culture and climate, and long-term partnering with the clients, as well as local delivery partner Planar Architects.
“The completion of the schools marks a key milestone for education in the region, as they create a new breed of spatial and learning environments in Abu Dhabi’s schools and blend international best design practice with contemporary sustainable principles, and the result is testament to the practice’s successful approach to integrated place-making in the wider Middle East region.”
The opening of the practice’s schools follow its delivery of prototype designs for Cycle 1 (Grade 1-6), combined Cycle 2 and Cycle 3 (Grade 7-12) and Kindergarten to Grade 12 schools, its subsequent detailed design of nine site-specific schools, production of construction and tender documents, contract administration, and supervision of construction.
The practice provided a wide range of services on the schemes, including architecture, interior design and landscape architecture, with the projects led by its Abu Dhabi-based team, under direction Nick Davies, and by Khalid Zakour on implementation, was supported by the practice’s global teams in the UK and Europe led by Salim Hussain.
Sustainability was a key design driver, such as through the extensive use of natural light, with sustainability features incorporated in a visible way to engage with students as form part of their learning experience – for example, an ‘eco court’ in the Abu Dhabi West school employs shading structures which power the school’s science labs, and help grow plants for its biology lessons.
The practice originally secured the appointment through a design competition in early 2009, and was one of only three international teams selected to develop the programme, with the practice the sole consultant retained beyond schematic design to deliver its designs, and supervise construction work onsite, the latter for client Musanada following a further appointment in September 2009.
Meanwhile, the practice is inviting students to design their own school in a student competition, held in partnership with The Sammon Group and run at Building Future Education MENA, with the practice being a gold sponsor of the event, in Abu Dhabi on October 25 and 26. The competition will see teams of students creating handcrafted models, with the best design judged at the end of each day.
ADEC’s ten year strategic plan is aimed at delivering a historic transformation of Abu Dhabi’s education system. It will provide students with world-class learning environments and act as a foundation for students to achieve educational excellence.