Dubai campus shortlisted for top global architecture award

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Newly built sustainable university campus in Dubai represents UAE at Prix Versailles 2022

Dubai, UAE: The University of Birmingham Dubai’s iconic new campus has been shortlisted for the prestigious Prix Versailles 2022 global architecture and design award.

Airports, university campuses, passenger stations and major sports facilities around the world are in the running for the award, with six nominees chosen in each category. The University of Birmingham Dubai is shortlisted alongside the following campuses:

  • École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay – Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • Paris Institute of Political Studies, 1 Saint-Thomas – Paris, France
  • London School of Economics and Political Science, Marshall Building – London, UK
  • University of Leeds, Sir William Henry Bragg Building – Leeds, UK
  • Stanford University, Center for Academic Medicine – Palo Alto, CA, United States

The World Judges Panel will make its choices based on the criteria of innovation, creativity, reflection of local heritage and ecological efficiency, with the importance of sustainable development at the heart of its decision making. The World Titles Announcement will take place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris later this year.

Professor David Sadler, University of Birmingham Dubai Provost, commented: “We are very proud of our iconic campus. I am delighted that this building, designed and built to deliver the experience that every student needs to develop and grow, has been shortlisted for an award as prestigious as the Prix Versailles.

“Sustainability is important to us and we are working hard with our partner Siemens to make our campuses in Dubai and Birmingham as sustainable as possible. Our building is designed to be accessible to everyone – open to the local community for events and opportunities that will enrich the lives of Dubai residents.”

Opened in April, in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, the campus has been home to students since January.

The new campus, located in Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), marks the next stage in the University of Birmingham’s long-term commitment to supporting the position of Dubai as a regional hub for world-class higher education, nurturing talent and enhancing academic excellence in the UAE.

University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Adam Tickell commented: “It is a great honour to be shortlisted for the Prix Versailles, which recognises the hard work of people across the University of Birmingham and our partners to create a learning and research environment that is innovative, inspiring  and sustainable.

“Thanks to the support of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), TECOM Group, DIAC and all our partners in the region, we now have a wonderful academic home that provides students from the UAE and beyond with excellent facilities and a first-class education.”

Located opposite Dubai’s first purpose-built student housing community, the campus encourages collaboration across academic disciplines, offering flexible learning spaces to ensure that teaching and research work in tandem to benefit students. Learning spaces incorporate digital technology and a student hub supports student needs across teaching and wellbeing.

Innovative facilities and high-quality staff provide students from the region and beyond with first-class education from the first global top 100 and UK Russell Group university in Dubai. Partnership with Siemens enables the University’s campuses in Dubai and Birmingham to embrace sustainable practices in line with net-zero carbon emission initiatives

The campus can currently support up to 2,900 students and will eventually be able to support up to 4,500 students.

Designed by Hopkins Architects and built by Khansaheb, the buildings overlook parkland and natural spaces. They reflect the ‘green heart’ of the University’s campus in Birmingham, giving the student community a complete campus university experience. Sheltered courtyards and social spaces aim to enhance the campus’ sustainability while providing students and staff with a relaxing environment in keeping with Dubai’s distinctive climate.

The University’s partnership with Siemens combines digital sensor and analytics technologies, artificial intelligence, decentralised energy generation and storage, renewable energy and concepts that help change users’ behaviour to transform the Edgbaston and Dubai campuses into the world’s smartest global campus, creating a ‘Living Lab’ where research, teaching and learning all benefit from access to new data and connectivity.

The ‘Living Lab’ will capture data from the University’s building technologies, estates infrastructure and energy plants and use it for innovation, R&D activities and teaching. Live data from across the sites provides a unique opportunity for applied learning for students and creates a platform for cutting-edge research.