LACASA unveils three finalists for Palestine school project

Dubai-based LA CASA Architects has chosen its three finalists for its student design competition to create a school that will be eventually built in Ramallah, Palestine.

The three finalists are: Mrnalini Rithika, Nour Djellali and Iman Hussein. 

“In the last round, we chose the most promising concept approaches we received. However, in  this round, the decision was made based on the feasibility, constructability, and efficiency of the design. For the first time, the client, Emad Jaber was present at the assessment session and hence was able to choose the most feasible designs from a business and operational perspective,” said Ayman Jaber, brand & marketing communications manager at LACASA.


“Additionally, LACASA’s Sr. Executive Design Director, Dilip Kumar was also present to provide feedback from a technical perspective. We were able to choose three finalists who demonstrated a great deal of creativity in their approaches while still maintaining a sense of feasibility and efficiency in their designs. Iman, Nour, and Mrnalini will now have until September to submit a complete concept design for the project. The winner will then be offered a full-time work placement at LACASA’s office in Dubai,” he added. 

Here are the concept descriptions for the three finalist projects: 

Mrnalini Rithika

This international baccalaureate school design located in West bank, Palestine is about creating uniqueness to its location which is rich in culture and heritage. How this design is unique is through the school design which is a contemporary form with traditional Palestinian features and also uses passive cooling strategies in its design.

THINKING BEYOND WALLS: FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION explains the design in a way that demonstrates how the people in Palestine face a lot of fear in their daily lives, hence this design will be an eye opener to the world of freedom , peace and equality. Pupils studying here experience nothing but knowledge, wisdom, and vision to achieve their goals in life. The West Bank is characterised by the hilly landscape defining the skyline. The proposal is a formation of smaller building units rising like a small clustered city from the hill side with individual roofs forming the skyline. The school will be built in phases and the smaller unit is kindergarten. G+2 i s the primary and administration unit and G+3 is the secondary unit.

The connection to the school calls for an inclusive and informal public setting where creative thinking can unfold and be shared. A central courtyard/plaza unites the various building functions while opening up towards the magnificent view over the hilly landscape The materiality of the buildings are neutral on the exterior with local lime stone set in various patterns, reliefs and textures while colourful floor tiles or wall stencils gives individual character to each of the building volumes interior.

Solid exterior walls define the courtyards. Carved from this white mass, tall vertical windows illuminate the spaces beyond. Lining the interior of these courtyards, a cloister shaded by wooden fins defines the inner world of the schools. The connection of buildings to landscape presents two contrasting conditions: Where the building is embedded into the natural topography of the site, a language of stone walls retains earth and provides a visual foundation for the more fluid and airy white mass above. Where the natural topography drops, pilotis support the underbelly of the schools, creating outdoor shaded areas of education, physical activity, and repose.

Nour Djellali

Al Rayhaan American school concept’s was inspired by The historical & Archaeological studies that indicate that the story of the prophet Yusuf (Joseph) has taken place in Ramallah & Al-Bireh , on the (caravan Route) south to north or vice versa . The stages of the story where applied in several position in the school .

So I was trying to reflect our religion and culture in our project & feel proud of it since it’s an educational project . The brief stipulated that the school had to be designed as a contemporary architecture style with a comfortable environment for the student by creating a sustainable design, providing a natural daylight, protection from harsh weather condition , courtyards & outdoor learning area. so that it we’ll have a friendly design that deals with some difficult condition in Palestine.

Iman Hussein

 Conventional schools in general are portrayed to have the principles of order, control and law. Resembling, to students or children that schools are strict and authoritarian. As a result, students tend to lack the ambition and excitement to wake up every single morning in order to fulfill their education. Therefore, designing a welcoming and a pleasant school building is a necessity for students to manifest a more lively spirit in parallel to attaining education that lacks melancholy.

The approach of my design focuses on how to allow maximum daylight to penetrate the classrooms with minimum glare creating a productive and a healthy educative environment. In addition, creating strong visual connections to the environment by providing outside green areas as the landscape. As well considering inviting walkways and cheerful forms with smooth circulation. All these attributes can change the children’s perspective of a school and make them aspire to a more successful education.

READ MORE: Studio Visit: LACASA Architects & Engineering Consultants 

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