MEA Awards 2018, MEA Awards, Middle East Architect Awards, Public space, Public architecture

MEA Awards 2018 shortlist: Public Sector & Education Project of the Year

We are pleased to announce the shortlist for the MEA Awards 2018, which will take place on Wednesday, November 21 in Dubai. This year, we have received 361 submissions across the 13 categories from 132 companies throughout the region.

The shortlist was created by the Middle East Architect editorial team and will be passed on to this year's judges for review and winners selection.

Here are the shortlisted nominees for Public Sector & Education Project of the Year: 

The International School of Choueifat Umm Al Quwain by ATI Consultants, Architects & Engineers

ATI Consultants, Architects & Engineers were inspired by Japanese Origami for the design of the International School of Choueifat in Umm Al Quwain, UAE. The spatial design of the school aimed to reflect a child’s imaginative perception of space and location. The facade is designed according to the sun’s trajectory while the walls are highly insulated to protect from thermal fenestration. Projections are introduced as shading elements and are carefully positioned and studied to create the optimum balance between daylight and shade within the classrooms therefore reducing the need for artificial lighting and heat gain. To accentuate the main entrance, the building envelope was ‘twisted’ creating a more playful, unique and welcoming entrance. Focusing on the principles of symmetry, the development plan is centered on an open space (courtyard) and surrounded by buildings on all sides.

Fazili Educational Complex by Mohammad Shamaeizadeh and Shirin Shariffar

The Fazili Educational Complex by Iranian architects Mohammad Shamaeizadeh and Shirin Shariffar is located in Isfahan, in a site dedicated to Takhte Foulad mausoleums and cemetery. The aim with this project was to inspire movement and life in the area. It blends traditional Persian architecture with a contemporary application. As a response to the changes in Iran’s education system, the project uses the linear organization of this system towards a new architectural language for education buildings in the country through the reorganisation of masses, the use of voids and greenery. The project is made up of two buildings: the research centre and the conservatory department which cross-twist to create a sense of spatial movement while keeping a sense of linearity through the use of greenery and natural light. The two departments are unified by its outer appearance through the use of blank spaces, reminiscent of a veranda in Iranian architecture.

Sam Pasdaran by Razan Architects

Located in Tehran, Iran, the biggest challenge in designing this project was creating a commercial building that could fit in the narrow Pasdaran Street. With odds such as overcrowding and traffic working against it, the construction of this project aimed to encourage citizens to interact with the city, as well as contribute in increasing the quality of life in the neighbourhood. The strategy was to remove the shops and brands by changing the project planning from a commercial building to a special department store. This was done by diving the project by an invisible line where the lower part was targeted for commercial use while the upper levels are reserved for public interaction.

Wall of Knowledge by Tarik Zoubdi and Mounir Benchekroun    

In El Jadida, a port city on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, just 100km south of Casablanca, sits the Wall of Knowledge School, designed by Moroccan architects Tarik Zoubdi and Mounir Benchekroun. Spanning 8,960m2, the project comprises a lobby, auditorium, 18 classrooms (many of which cater to science and technology education), as well as a prayer room and various sports facilities. The irregular shape of the site and its orientation toward the sun suggests a spatial distribution of the project in three main areas: the central area, which contains a building dedicated to teaching and is strategically positioned to serve as a landmark for the neighbourhood; the northern area, which houses the sports facilities; and the southern area, currently kept vacant for the school’s future expansion. The facade features a very resistant limestone called ‘Taza stone’, which is produced in Morocco and is often used in local building construction. A tribute to the Portuguese heritage of the city, the facade also contains a metallic mashrabiya skin adorned with a ‘universal alphabet’ to symbolise tolerance.

Swiss International School of Dubai by U+A

The Swiss International Scientific School of Dubai consists of three phases, with U+A winning a competition to design Phase 3 which includes a middle school and high school, dining halls, an auditorium and boarding houses for 300 students. Located in Dubai Healthcare City with a plot size of 68,000 sqm, the new buildings were designed to Minergie standards providing a high-grade, air-tight building envelope with a continuous renewal of air in the building using an energy-efficient ventilation system. The middle and high school buildings are designed to link the previously completed buildings, creating a central plaza that would act as the main arrival, gathering and orientation point for the students.