Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ) has recently completed the design of the new reception building for Dubai College.
The latest phase of development for the school, the reception building was designed as a contemporary gateway to the existing campus while providing a new visitor arrival experience, purpose built offices and centralised staff facilities.
According to Jason Burnside, partner at GAJ, “Dubai College has a leading reputation as a traditional school that delivers quality education, however, they also have a charm and quirkiness that we wanted to maintain.”
“It’s fundamentally a British school, but very firmly rooted here in the Middle East, with its juxtaposition of British quadrangles (or Arabic courtyards) and low-density clusters of single and double-storey faculty blocks,” he said.
GAJ managing partner Brian Johnson first designed the school 40 years ago with his previous firm and GAJ has designed all of the new buildings since then, as it continues to advise on the school’s expansion plans.
“The location of the building was a key driver in the way that we designed it,” said Burnside. “It needed to occupy a very prominent location near the plot boundary, which means it is highly visible from the road and creates a public face for the school.”
He added, “In addition, it has the added benefit of controlling pedestrian access and ensuring the safety and security of the students as they arrive and leave. The dramatic steel cantilever or ‘gateway’ floats over a water feature and glazed reception surrounded with shade trees, planting and coloured concrete seating cubes.”
GAJ is currently working on the refurbishment of the D block, to provide a modern centre consisting of open plan learning hubs for collaborative learning, as well as upgrading the existing classrooms to the latest standards for energy efficiency and technology.