University of Dubai


Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Our Impact:

Livability, Sustainability

Our Specialist Brands:



Communities, Environment

An idyllic oasis of learning in Dubai’s desertscape   

Rising from a scenic desertscape in the emirate’s Education City, the University of Dubai exemplifies innovation in every feature that matters.  

From its iconic spiraling shell concept to the masterclass, it offers in delivering sustainable design and working in compliment to a place’s natural terrain.     

Dar, a leading design consultancy of Sidara, worked with the University of Dubai to prepare the detailed design of this exceptional campus, which not only became a living example of a sustainability but also a blueprint for higher education design in Dubai.  

A spiraling shell  

The lynchpin of the university campus is a spiraling, three-story wall, clad in perforated metal sheets and encircling the entire campus.  

The spiral wall provides the backbone for an array of independent college buildings that form a gentle series of terraces in harmony with the rolling desert and sand dunes – a natural and environmentally-friendly solution for the site’s downward sloping gradient and its 15-m fall in elevation.  

Originating in the spiral wall are a series of ‘petals,’ overarching canopies that, seen from a distance, create an illusion of the campus blending into the desert dunes. Beyond aesthetics, these canopies provide solar screening and shade, protect the roofs, reduce experienced thermal temperatures by 10 percent, while still allowing a gentle breeze into the outer terraces and courtyards.  

These canopies are reinforced by the façades which incorporate solar shading panels. This approach greatly reduces solar thermal penetration and glare. These run around the building, blocking low sun angles, filtering air, and surrounding and protecting the internal courtyard – a haven for students in their seat of learning. 

Sustainability in a scorching climate  

Together with making the experience of being on campus an altogether more pleasant one, these features form essential elements of a holistic sustainability strategy set for the university.  

This involved assessing every venue for sustainability – prioritizing sustainable construction materials, energy-efficient equipment and high-efficiency and low-flow water consumption fixtures as well as graywater recycling and smart building management systems.  

Even the ornamental water fountains and waterfalls that adorn the departments’ dedicated plazas double as sustainability drivers by cooling both student spaces and the air-conditioning systems of the main electrical plants.   

What is more, the surrounding landscape was also designed with indigenous and water-tolerant species in mind. All of these features ensured that the campus exceeded the initial target of LEED Silver and acquired LEED Gold certification.  

With a highly sustainable campus offering an exceptional learning experience, the University of Dubai is well on its way to educating and empowering generations of students in a simulating, engaging, and innovative environment – a true oasis in a stunning desertscape. 

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