Al Mushriff School

Abu Dhabi, UAE

Collaborative working is very important to Foreman Roberts, and can lead to some very exciting projects, such as the development of a competition entry with HKR Architects and Rummey Design landscape architects for Al Mushriff School and Residential development in Abu Dhabi.

The project redevelops the Al Mushrif park, an established plantation of mature Ghaf trees, and the design principle was to retain as many of the existing trees as possible, using these trees to create a natural buffer to the external environment. The layout of the buildings was based around courtyards where the buildings would shield the spaces from road noise and the retained trees would provide shade. However, to increase the period of time the courtyards could be used we developed solar towers which use the suns heat to warm the air drawn into the towers and create a stack effect whereby this hot air is expelled from the top of the towers inducing cooler air into the bottom, and therefore creating an air flow within the courtyards which otherwise might not be available from the wind. Ground ducts are also proposed so that the entrained air is reduced in temperature having passed below the buildings and energy exchanged between the air and ground. Two different designs were developed to create two distinct courtyards, a tent like structure in one, and solar chimneys that rise high above the tree canopy in the other. Other principles intended to be incorporated include highly visible usage of renewables such as PV and solar water heating, with the technologies used within the landscape, not hidden away on roofs, and visible meters which quantify the energy created such that they can be used as a teaching tool for sustainability principles.

Integration of external shading and the use of solar control glass will ensure solar gain is controlled and reduce the energy needed to cool the internal teaching spaces. Water use is also a key factor in the sustainability credentials of the school, and minimising water use is a key issue in Estidama. All water fittings and equipment will be selected such that water use is minimised, and a grey water recycling system used to treat and reuse water from basins and showers, with the potential for utilising a reed bed system which as well as being a natural strategy can again be used as a teaching tool.