A residential building typology that challenges Dubai's standalone towers and a community hub that connects a neighbourhood via sport are included in Dezeen's latest school show by students at The American University in Dubai.
The projects also include a tent designed to unite religious communities in Dubai and a tower intended to educate people on sustainability while promoting biofuel-producing architecture.
The American University in Dubai
School: The American University in Dubai, SAAD School of Architecture Art and Design - Bachelor of Architecture
Courses: ARCH 502, Architectural Design Studio X, Final Senior Project
Tutors: Anna Cornaro, Takeshi Maruyama and Abdellatif Qamhaieh
"This is a final course in which students implement their thesis research by developing a project that incorporates all the principles of design, demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of architectural design and evidence of professional capability.
"The course outcomes are exhibited in a senior showcase where a jury of experts was invited to vote. The 2021 architecture senior showcase ran online on Behance from 27 April to 29 April.
"A jury of 40 international experts, coming from academia, professional realm and press, voted the projects – first, second, third, honourable mentions and design awards. Another series of awards involved an internal academic jury – professors, alumni, faculty – and an external jury included students and the public."
First Place Award and the Faculty and Alumni Award: The Cessation/Memorial Museum by Joe Sassine Finianos
"The project aims at being the cessation of relationship, civilian and historical losses witnessed by the Lebanese people. It aims at fixing the relationship loss that was broken in 1975 when the city of Beirut got divided between Christians and Muslims.
"The demographic distribution of the people shows a clear evident line in the separation of the two religious groups. The thesis highlights the citizens who died, making their memory live and making them a lesson for the upcoming generations.
"The thesis also studies the numerous destructions in historical monuments and art crafts after every explosion or war. The repeated cycle is evident after every war where museums lose historical artefact due to poor storage, people lose their loved ones as a result of the explosions and the relationship between the two religious group worsens."
Second Place Award: The Isle by Rhea Khoury
"The Isle is a micro-city where students have the freedom to explore their passions and make their own decisions on what and how they want to learn. New teaching methods encourage new solutions on how educational spaces should be organised and designed – moving from a still and disciplined environment to a student-centred, flexible and adaptable space for all different kinds of people.
"The young adults from the schools around the Isle and beyond come from different backgrounds and gather to learn from each other and coexist. The different typologies of spaces encourage learning, collaboration, innovation, identity, inclusion and communication. The environment becomes the teacher."
Third Place Award: Pedestrian Enclave by Dalia Qasem
"The concept of Pedestrian Enclave revolves around the nature of social gathering and interaction in the site. These encounters have a unique identity and result from multiple factors that include but are not limited to: overcrowding, vibrant street life, and the presence of low-income residents that feel a disconnect from the rest of the city.
"The goal was to integrate a structure into the chosen site to refine the pedestrian experience and create pleasant gathering spaces by inserting elevated platforms with different levels connected to the roofs of the existing buildings and create a central hub to host some of the missing amenities.
"Overall, this decreases the congestion on the ground level of the site, responds to the need for gathering spaces, and provides a more three-dimensional pedestrian experience as opposed to the flat urban fabric of the current area."
Honorable Mention: A Child's Place by Klara Bekhet
"A Child's Place proposes a residential building typology that challenges the current standalone towers present in Dubai with a focus on how children perceive and react to residential spaces cognitively, physically and emotionally. The proposed project takes inspiration from the traditional Sha'biyaat housing.
"It tackles three main design approaches an abundance of communal spaces for frequent interaction between the children, the rejection of the vertical void created by elevator-dependent multi-story buildings, and the importance of child-scale for the younger residents to be able to perceive their homes and surrounding.
"The project aims to provide 'homes' rather than transitory sellable units, encouraging children to form a sense of place attachment to these spaces and the city of Dubai."
Honourable Mention: Bridging The Gap by Zinah Al Asad
"Internally displaced people (IDPs) are continuously being viewed as a threat to a host society's security, history, and cultural relationships, and are therefore excluded and restrained.
"The objective is to gradually merge IDPs into the urban fabric of their host city, rather than exclude them. Here, architecture creates a physical bond between the host society and the 'new society', the IDPs, and creates a link between the two histories. Moreover, it allows them to benefit society and themselves through the incorporation of self-build structures.
"The project comes to life through a continuous path that physically connects the three different plots while occasionally becoming the roof of recessed volumes. The path starts from an archaeological site to a final site of a refugee accommodation, with an intermediate museum in the second plot."
Sustainable Design Award: Plantae Tower by Basant Abdelrahman
"Our planet is in dire need of saving. Humanity's eradication of nature has had a devastating impact on every aspect of our lives, including our health, population and wildlife. Nature is targeted for its non-renewable fuels, which has continued to contribute to the heating of the planet and has caused severe climate change.
"This should concern every human since it affects animal ecosystems, food production and essential biodiversity. To save our planet, we need to focus on alternative energy resources. There have been many surges in technology and advancements that have helped find solutions other than using non-renewable fuels as sources of energy.
"The main goal of my project is to raise awareness of these emerging integrated innovative technology and help visualise a sustainable building community. I propose to design a tower that advertises a biofuel-producing architecture. It will become a beacon of hope for a sustainable future and will raise awareness about the crisis of climate change. The purpose of the tower is to educate people about the necessity of protecting the environment."
"Dubai is one of the most luxurious cities in the world, but around 90 per cent of its population are migrant workers who earn 19 dollars a day. This brings up the obvious reality of Dubai being a city built just for the rich while there are people who are in poverty.
"The city is known for being the melting pot in the middle east, and so it has residents from different incomes, nationalities, and most importantly, different religions. Unfortunately, all of these aspects create classism between the poor, the middle class, and the rich. TentMod was inspired by a mosque – there is a harmonious interaction between the poor and the other classes during the five prayers.
"I aim to create a Ramadan tent-inspired project that everyone can enjoy together. All classes, religions, and nationalities of the city can come together in union to build the temporary structure of the tent during the month of Ramadan while enjoying the structure during the rest of the year.
"This project creates a sense of unity and harmony between people while forming a connection between the occupants and the project. Furthermore, TentMod is designed to be placed and built on any site beside a mosque since it is designed to be adaptive. This characteristic will help in spreading the awareness of community and culture that comes with Ramadan tents."
Community Design Award: Goodbye Slumbai by Mahima Aswani
"The project revolves around the redevelopment of one of the biggest slums in the world, Dharavi, Mumbai, India. The objective is to provide the slum dwellers with more than just shelter. To create an affordable housing option and to improve their quality of life.
"The design of the project is adaptable, sustainable and incorporates social distancing between dwellers to prepare the project for future uncertainties.
"It is designed as a place where dwellers can work in workshops to live in a type of housing module while enjoying and expressing themselves in the public spaces. In addition to this, there are also several stalls on the deck, main market, research centre, reading square to support the dwellers and the strengthening tourism financially."
Innovative Design Award: Vertical Voids by Yash Rochani
"Vertical Voids tackles the issue of expansive sprawl and urban verticality found in Dubai. It proposes to densify the existing urban cloud further, allowing people to live closer and avoid the need to commute. Densification is achieved by studying the negative spaces within the existing skyline of Dubai and proposing an infill development between the current urban fabric.
"A development built within the voids but does not connect to the urban tissue and instead floats above the existing urban fabric and suffices on itself. Densifying the neighbourhood above the grade level will help retain the existing infrastructure while creating new horizontal connections between the existing and new buildings. Thus, creating various levels of interaction besides the ground level."
Professor Award: Convergence by Hiba Al-Sharif
"The project objective aims to connect the Jebel Ali religious complex with its surrounding and create a unity between the existing religious buildings. Instead of an isolated island of religious buildings, the project will form a series of connections between one building and another and between the complex and its adjacent surrounding.
"Here, the concept converges the religious buildings and considers the 'in-between passages' under the canopy theme. This will be achieved through enhancing these passages by integrating culturally shared architectural elements, and by elevating the passages, so connecting the complex with the new cultural park."
Professor Award: Ori-folds by Maghi Alkhen
"This project aims to be taken into consideration in any country that has faced war – one that aims to build its future again. As a first step, I have taken the country Syria as a proposed location.
"In this project, I aim to try and heal the country step by step back to its life-filled days. The healing process adapts to the concept of "mitosis", where the healthy cells start to divide themselves to cure a scar on the skin.
"The three phases of healing start with the shelter. It provides a temporary structure that is fast to build, low in cost, and safe for the people who have lost their original homes.
"The second phase focuses on transforming these temporary residentials into permanent ones and creating full residential units. The third and final phase that coexists with phase two is to conceptually include some Arabic and Islamic inspired elements within the final outcome."
Professor Award: Excavation by Nawara AlMandeel
"The kingdom of Bahrain is one of the wealthiest islands in the Arabian Peninsula with cultural monuments that date back to the Sumerian and Assyrian times. It is the heart of captivating temples and forts that bind the kingdom together for its profound culture.
"It is essential that all demographic slates of people get to learn and embrace the kingdom of Bahrain's profound cultural heritage and get inspired to revive what is lost. The project is a livable, sustainable educational cultural centre, hosting multiple activities that would invite all demographics worldwide to visit and immerse in Bahrain's true architectural identity.
"The former would include contemporary livable areas such as resort hotels that overlook museums and refabricated historical monumental sculptures and exhibition areas."
Students Award: Oneness by Ahmed Hussein
"When designing this project, we were told to try to relate to things we love or to our hobbies, so the first thing that came up to my mind was football or sports in general. The goal is not only to facilitate people with utilities but also how to make sports better and more accessible.
"The title of this project is oneness. I have chosen a site in a relatively poorer neighbourhood and managed to facilitate them with a sustainable hub that connects the neighbourhood that includes a stadium and a hospital. This zero-carbon emission hub offers not only sports facilities but also offices, galleries and restaurants for all types of people to connect."
People's Choice Award: Platform by Ayesha Changaai Mangalote
"Platform is an integrated rehabilitation program while activating, reflecting and incorporating new functions that would revive the central importance to the city's fabric. The project is built around the primary goal of ordering integrated public spaces. These public spaces go from the ground floor to the leading platforms and roof gardens leading to roof gardens.
"The main intention here is to create a hub between the Gold Souq and the ultimate site, which acts as a surprise element or a hidden gem. The site includes old buildings, demolished and certain included and revamped and connected to new extensions to give continuity while ensuring a clear hierarchy and articulation of space.
"The main struggle for this project was its dense urban fabric, and the knitted area had to be well planned. That's where the modularity of the project comes in. Balconies with roof gardens and the park below give the place a revamp where public and private realms converge. Social and physical boundaries are dissolved when different groups can meet on the ground floor of the central park."
This school show is a partnership between Dezeen and The American University in Dubai. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.