Architecture Education

Abu Dhabi school by Segond-Guyon takes horizontal approach amid high-rise towers

March 11, 2020

Sitting on a plot size of 1.6-hectare, the French School Louis Massignon in Abu Dhabi will house 2,000 students from kindergarten to high school. French firm Segond-Guyon Architectes was tasked with the renovation of the school as well as the design of a new kindergarten and primary school for 600 students. The school which opened in 1985 was last renovated in 2010 and has since seen a rise in the number of students on its campus.

The redesign of the premises spanning 4,130m² included a strategic approach to operational details such as the bus service bay and pedestrian traffic flow throughout the site. The landscape was designed by Frédéric Reynaud.

The volume of the new school reflects a simple and compact architectural approach. In a bustling neighbourhood in the UAE capital, comprising mainly of high-rise structures, the building on Rabdan Street embraces an opposite approach with a horizontal development.

To limit the sun radiation and to reduce the energy consumption due to the cooling production and distribution system, the project integrates bioclimatic solutions such as the creation of a big canopy, that became the architectural identity of the new school. The quality of the shade produced by this canopy creates an oasis in the courtyard. The green spaces are watered thanks to the reclaimed water from the air-conditioning system.

The primary school with its bright colours, sits on top of the kindergarten school. The vertical circulation creates a strong signal on the street indicating without ambiguity the new building entrance.

Photos: Studio Erick Saillet

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