GAJ completes design of building for Dubai College

Modern reception sets new direction for the educational institute

Architecture and design firm Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ) has completed the design of Dubai College’s new reception building.

According to a statement from GAJ, the building is the latest phase of development for the school. It was designed to function as a contemporary student gateway to the existing campus, which provides an enhanced visitor arrival experience, purpose built offices and centralised staff facilities.

“Dubai College has a leading reputation as a traditional school that delivers quality education, however they also have a charm and quirkiness that we wanted to maintain. It’s fundamentally a British school but very firmly rooted here in the Middle East with its juxtaposition of British quadrangles (or Arabic courtyards) and low-density clusters of single and double storey faculty blocks,” said Jason Burnside, partner at Godwin Austen Johnson.

GAJ managing partner, Brian Johnson, first designed the school 40 years ago during his time at a number firm. Since then, GAJ has designed every new building and advises on the school’s expansion plans.

“The location of the building was a key driver in the way that we designed it. It needed to occupy a very prominent location near to the plot boundary, which means it is highly visible from the road and creates a public face for the school. In addition, it has the added benefit of controlling pedestrian access and ensuring the safety and security of the students as they arrive and leave. The dramatic steel cantilever or ‘gateway’ floats over a water feature and glazed reception surrounded with shade trees, planting and coloured concrete seating cubes. At the end of the day it’s fantastic to see the students interacting with the space as they wait to be collected,” comments Burnside.

The consultancy says its next phase of work has to do with the refurbishment of the school’s ‘D-Block’. GAJ plans to create a modern centre of teaching, with open plan learning hubs for collaborative learning. It will also upgrade existing classrooms to the latest standards for energy efficiency and technology. In addition, the firm’s MEP team have designed and completed a substantial centralised plant facility to increase operational efficiency and provide the essential infrastructure for future expansion.


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