Emirates National School

Abu Dhabi, UAE


Project Scope
Concept Design & Feasibility Study

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The design is conceived as a walled city with a combination of buildings and courtyards providing climatically responsive environments for learning. The four schools – kindergarten, primary, and boys and girls, are arranged in two buildings of teaching accommodation, with an administration block in the center of each. Running between the two main school buildings are the shared facilities – main hall, sports halls and swimming pools, and dining and kitchens.

The layouts of the schools are informed by a desire to maximize connections with pleasant, useful, shaded outside learning landscapes. Radically moving children from air-conditioned tented halls into shaded, mist-cooled external courtyards, in common with latest trends in private education and pedagogy. The building’s bold, massive shading on its main elevations not only give gravitas to these important civic buildings but contribute to passive environmental management strategies that will minimize cooling energy costs and lighting energy costs for the schools in use.

The design presented here is for a 3,000 pupil schools, divided into the four schools as proposed in the design brief – kindergarten, primary, boys and girls. They concentrate on main teaching spaces – general classrooms and specialist spaces.

The architecture of the school responds to the climatic requirements of maximizing solar shading through orientation and the use of vertical fins. The materiality of the building draws on the local vernacular of the desert. The largescale, bold fi ns create a striking image for the school, with their lushly colored sides creating interest and surprise when seen from the side. The primary school elevation and the secondary school elevations have different colored fins to create identity and distinction.


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