Dubai , UAE
The challenging design brief for this 2,000-student primary school – next to an existing school for higher grades – required a meeting point between the Alhambra palace in Spain and a fantasy castle. Avoiding a kitsch aesthetic, inappropriate for academia, Lacasa’s designers employed an abstract, emotional reference to a castle while maintaining a sense of fun, with coloured mullions and glass panels.
The result is a ‘Lego-like’ development with a variety of bold masses and forms placed at different angles, resembling a fragmented castle on undulating terrain. Sleek, contemporary references to the Alhambra include a diverse and urban massing arrangement with pitched roofs. The main entrance to the school is marked by a drum-shaped mass which houses a double-height lobby, a grand staircase, a 600-capacity theatre and a multi-storey ‘Science Discovery’ centre. Classroom units occupy an L-shaped arm, extending out of the drum, which cascades backwards to create a strong visual character and allow for outdoor learning.