In a learning environment, the most stimulating and fruitful conversations do not necessarily happen within classrooms or at desks. They rather happen during strolling around on campus or in corridors, for instance.
Although this university skyscraper was vertically designed, we wanted to preserve the horizontal dynamics of the campus by creating an uninterrupted surface.
Therefore instead of stacking floors, the “campus” is essentially wrapped around an atrium creating continuous horizontal circulation from the bottom to the top of the university. The ease of circulation mimics the ease of walking around on campus, it triggers spontaneous and out-of-the class interactions, and it preserves social exchange. We believe this to be paramount in a learning environment. Furthermore, the building is located in the urban and business heart of Dubai, aiming to establish a more direct link to real life extroverted learning.
The space in the tower blends the boundary of what is circulation space and what is program/activities space. The tower inhabits spaces for housing, cafes, lounges, exhibition spaces, open plan workplaces and more.
At the core of the building, one can look down the atrium to the bottom of the building or up to the ceiling. Through this spine of the tower, several escalators increase the circulation speed and flexibility. The pattern of the atrium and escalator together, shape a traditional Arabic pattern. The elevation of the tower also reminds of a Naski¹ ‘Alif’, the letter A in Arabic.
1. Naski is the form of calligraphy most popular for body text across the region.
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