OMA has unveiled its design for a major educational masterplan in Dubai. Designed for the Government of Dubai Knowledge Fund, the scheme aims to be the world’s largest free zone dedicated to higher education.
A former desert, the site now contains 25 international universities and educational institutions, hosting 24,000 students from 145 nationalities. The 155 hectare site will be dedicated to student and staff accommodation aimed at creating “a vivid and modern hub for the academic city”, but it will also host office, retail and hospitality facilities, and capacity for centres of excellence and research and development facilities.
OMA’s masterplan manifests as a “checkerboard”, where the urban fabric is organized into alternating squares, arranged in three rows and six columns. The blocks have been defined along a 360m x 360m footprint, based on a walking distance radius of 250m. Individual blocks will be structured differently, inspired by existing successful urban typologies, producing different urban qualities within the masterplan. Within the office/education buildings, a central pedestrian spine will be defined, linking all the individual office developments and extending towards the residential blocks.
Public spaces will be carved out of each individual block to form a continuous loop of landscaped recreational areas. The site also connects to two highways, and public transportation systems; including an extended Dubai Metro Green. The grid ensures that, from any point in the block, it is possible to reach a main road and a bus stop.
The project was led by Iyad Alsaka, Mark Veldman, Mariano Sagasta and Wael Sleiman.
Via Archdaily | Photos OMA