The South View School, Remraam designed by R+D Studio
An institution housed to nurture and educate young minds planned as a perfect blend of rationale planning and aspirational design, creating a landmark within the Dubai school community. As a coalescence of different building blocks, the K12 school is designed around the concept of conjoining engineering and architecture, while keeping its context in the highest regard.
With an intention of building a sanctum for the kids, South View School exhibits statuesque, fortified walls that are punctured by a narrow alley that reflect the fort city streetscape meeting at intersections which are the lungs of the settlement. As one enters through the slender pathway, they are met with a voluminous premise, where the building introduces an illustrious courtyard, symbolic to a city square. Integrated with recreational and interactive zones, this expansive courtyard then paves way into the various functionalities of the school but also acts as the heart and soul of the kid’s alma mater. Keeping up with the standard functionality of an institutional space, the studio took a call to romanticize the building’s central core and to amplify its individuality by highlighting its form. Standing tall with its mighty facade and its majestic courtyard, the building proffers a nod to UAE Fort’s emblematic architecture.
The design of the school is fundamentally governed by a perceptive, utilitarian way of planning, tailored as per the needs of a K12 institute. Various functions of the school are separated into different levels, to create a programmatic and zonal division. I then connected these levels through an array of open to sky courts, so as to promote spatial and visual interaction between the kids, an essential part of the school. The kindergarten is placed at the base level, next to a recreation zone complete with an amphitheater and a play area, to make the most of the vast landscape for the younger children. The upper floors provide a sanctuary for the older students, further diverging into two wings that are reminiscent of a sapling branching its way out. These branches at the topmost floor are connected by a strategically placed library, suggestive of the importance of a centrally placed, soaring temple that houses endless knowledge. Worthy of note, this programmatic way of planning is also exhibited through the facade, where each scholarly function displays a different design of fenestration, and ends up creating a truly compelling facade.
The construction of the South View School creates a euphonious blend of contemporary and traditional architecture, as the building flaunts a modern precast structure, constructed in just a matter of six months, wrapped in the ancestral Saudi stone. The planning exhibits a more conventional approach, mainly by the use of its courtyard, that helps in the formation of a suitable microclimate allows for the use of Mashrabias, a type of screening device ornamented with latticework, that enclose the windows and bring in filtered air and daylight. A striking envelope is created over the structure, through the use of pergolas and tensile canopies that cover its multiple layers. These canopies, flaming yellow in color, along with the building’s carefully carved massing, bring in rays of natural light that makes the space come alive through a dynamic play of sunshine and shadow. Lined with the many courts and canopies at the terrace, the architecture creates its first line of defense against the dusty winds of Remraam.
In line with the studio’s philosophy of creating impactful interventions that initiate the betterment of our environment, South View School is a study in the concept of ‘contextual awareness’. Contrary to the belief of using a modern material palette for a contemporary building, the design provides a mindful balance between the old and the new, and does not alienate the experience of its local environment.
Gallery of The South View School
Programme: K-12 British Curriculum School
Location: Remraam, Dubai, UAE
Site Area: 4.8 Acres
Completed Year: 2021
Team: Shikha Doogar, Shridhar Rao, Rachita Malhotra, Tiyas Mandal, Mudit Gupta, Rohan Arora, Karishma Garg, Arushi Chand, Rana Sarkar, Manavi Dixit
Photography: Beno Saradzic
Text: Yamini Kathuria